US indicts 10 for stolen identity fraud
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said 10 people were indicted recently for their roles in a $20 million stolen identity refund fraud conspiracy. The group – Tracy Mitchell, Dameisha Mitchell, Latasha Mitchell, Keisha Lanier, Tameka Hoskins, Sharondra Johnson, Cynthia Johnson, Mequetta Snell-Quick, Talarious Paige and Patrice Taylor – used the stolen IDs to file 7,000 false tax returns – a crime the DoJ and the Internal Revenue Service highlighted this year as one they were going after with renewed gusto.
According to the indictment, between January 2011 and December 2013, the defendants ran a large-scale identity theft ring. The defendants obtained stolen identities from various sources to be used in filing false returns. Tracy Mitchell worked at the hospital on Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, where she had access to the identification data of military personnel, including soldiers who were deployed to Afghanistan. Mitchell and her daughter, Latasha Mitchell, also obtained stolen identities from an Alabama state agency. Lanier obtained stolen identities from the Alabama Department of Corrections. Paige and Taylor worked in a call centre for a Columbus company and stole identities.