U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania
(717) 221-4482
November 18, 2014

Four Individuals Charged with Conspiring to File False Claims for Tax Refunds

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced today that charges have been filed against four central Pennsylvania residents in connection with fraudulent federal income tax refund claims.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, separate criminal Informations were filed today in U.S. District Court in Williamsport charging the following persons:

Fatima Brooks, age 51, Williamsport, charged with filing 20 fraudulent income tax returns seeking $113,000 in fraudulent refunds.

Felicia Burks, age 44, Lancaster, charged with filing 52 fraudulent income tax returns seeking $85,000 in fraudulent refunds.

Valerie Burton, age 53, Williamsport, charged with filing 58 fraudulent income tax returns seeking $274,000 in fraudulent refunds.

Dawn Smith, age 44, Williamsport, charged with filing 41 fraudulent income tax returns seeking $88,000 in fraudulent refunds. Smith was also charged with making false statements relating to the Medicare Attendant Care Program and receiving payments for health care services which she never provided.

The fraud in each case allegedly took place between January 2012 and May 2013.

With respect to the fraudulent income tax billing scheme, each individual is facing up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Based on the false statements concerning the Medicare program, Smith is facing an additional five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

The government also filed a plea agreement in each case which is subject to approval of the assigned judge.

The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Wayne P. Samuelson has been assigned to prosecute the case.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statues and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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