Two Dayton residents been indicted by federal grand juries on charges accusing them of filing false claims for income tax refunds and identity theft.
Hiszan Blackford, 41, is charged with 37 counts of filing false claims for income tax refunds, 37 counts of identity theft and one count of conspiracy to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service.
Monica Williams, 31, is charged with 21 counts of filing false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS and three counts of identity theft. The indictment said Williams used others’ names and Social Security numbers while submitting false federal tax returns.
Blackford and others unknown to law enforcement are accused of using other peoples’ names for false tax returns in 2007 and 2008 and netted more than $80,000. The returns filed were from less than $300 to more than $5,700.
According to the indictment, between March 2008 and January 2010 Williams filed 21 false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS in the amount of $108,415.
Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and IRS Acting Special Agent in Charge Denise Rocawich of the Cincinnati office recently announced the indictments.
“IRS Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority,” Rocawich said. “Our cooperative work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office will help protect taxpayers in Southern Ohio from being victimized by identity theft. The IRS is taking additional steps this tax season to further prevent, detect and resolve identity theft cases as soon as possible.”
In late March, the Dayton Daily News reported that tax-related identity theft is surging across Ohio and the United States. One estimate put the number of active IRS fraud cases at nearly 650,000. In Ohio, Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office is investigating 46 tax-related ID theft cases, including some in Butler, Greene, Miami and Warren counties.
The indictment against Blackford states that Blackford and others conspired to defraud the IRS by obtaining false claims for federal income tax refunds. He is alleged to have unlawfully obtained individuals’ names and Social Security numbers by handing out employment application forms to unsuspecting individuals who would then fill out these forms with personal information, including their names, addresses and Social Security numbers.
Blackford also allegedly purchased individuals’ names and Social Security numbers from others to prepare false federal income tax returns. He also allegedly created false Forms W-2 which contained employer information for individuals who were not employed by the employer listed on the Forms W-2, and false amounts for income tax withholdings. Blackford attached the false W-2 Forms to the false 2007 and 2008 federal income tax returns, which were electronically filed with the IRS.
The income tax refunds were allegedly deposited into bank accounts controlled by Blackford and others. Also, Blackford convinced other individuals to allow him to use their bank accounts to deposit tax refunds and paid these individuals to do so.
According to the press release, conspiracy to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS is punishable by up to 10 years and a maximum fine of $250,000. Filing a false claim for an income tax refund is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Identity theft is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.