Sister act: Alabama tax prep sisters each face 129 years in prison
Loretta and Tracey Fergerson have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Alabama on a variety of charges stemming from an identity theft and tax fraud conspiracy. The sisters were charged in a 22-count indictment that was returned on March 23, 2011, and unsealed on Tuesday, March 29, 2011.
The Fergerson sisters were charged with conspiring to defraud the United States, filing false claims, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment, Loretta Fergerson operated Fast Tax Cash, a tax return preparation business in Montgomery, AL, from January 2005 to February 2008. The defendants' conspiracy spanned over one year and involved using stolen identities to file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds.
The indictment alleges that Tracey Fergerson unlawfully obtained the names and Social Security numbers of individuals. Loretta Fergerson would then electronically file false tax returns using the names and Social Security numbers Tracey provided. Loretta was then able to apply for and obtain refund anticipation loans from banks based on the false tax returns.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Loretta and Tracey Fergerson each face a maximum of 129 years in prison.