Georgia Man Sentenced for Stealing Deceased Persons’ Identities to Gain $2.3 Million in State Tax Refunds
JEFFERSON CITY, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Georgia man was sentenced in federal court today for a wire fraud scheme in which he used the identity information of deceased persons to obtain more than $2.3 million in tax refunds from several states.
Sirhon Rivers, also known as “Ron,” 40, of Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to eight years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Rivers to pay $2,358,612 in restitution.
On Sept. 14, 2014, Rivers pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Rivers admitted that he unlawfully obtained $547,000 from the Missouri Department of Revenue from January 2008 to August 2012 by filing fraudulent tax returns. Rivers used the same scheme in others states—including Kansas, Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia—to unlawfully acquire a total of $2,365,617 in fraudulent state tax refunds.
Rivers obtained personal identification information—including names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth—from deceased persons. He submitted state tax returns using that information, adding false and fraudulent information such as employment and wages earned. State tax returns were submitted electronically, with the refunds electronically transferred to bank accounts that Rivers opened at several financial institutions.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Gonzalez. It was investigated by the FBI and the Missouri Department of Revenue Criminal Tax Investigation Bureau.