US Postal Service Mail Carrier Indicted for Involvement in Stolen Identity Fraud
On October 16, 2012, Vernon Harrison, of Montgomery, Alabama, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to file false claims, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and embezzlement from the mail, the Justice Department; the IRS; and the US Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, announced after the indictment was unsealed.
According to the indictment, Harrison was a US Postal Service mail carrier who was part of a stolen identity refund fraud conspiracy. Members of the conspiracy filed false tax returns using stolen identities from various locations, including the Northern District of Alabama. The fraudulent tax refunds were directed to debit cards that were mailed to addresses on Harrison's postal route in Montgomery, Alabama. Harrison retrieved the debit cards from the mail and, for a fee, provided them to a co-conspirator.
If convicted, Harrison faces up to 10 years in prison for the conspiracy count, 20 years for each mail fraud count, 5 years for each mail embezzlement count and a mandatory 2-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft counts. He is also subject to fines, forfeiture, and mandatory restitution if convicted.
Woman Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison
Jacqueline Slaton was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of over $100,000 for her involvement in stolen identity refund fraud scheme, the Justice Department and the IRS announced October 23, 2012.
According to court documents, in 2012, Slaton was in the midst of filing false tax returns using stolen identities when IRS special agents executed a search warrant and ended her operation. At the time, Slaton had access to hundreds of stolen identities.
According to the plea agreement, between December 2011 and March 2012, Slaton filed at least 102 fraudulent federal income tax returns using stolen identities. She also filed 102 fraudulent Alabama state tax returns. The total federal and state tax refunds requested was $154,904. Slaton had the tax refunds directed to prepaid debit cards and had the cards mailed to various addresses on a US carrier's route. A postal employee agreed to collect the prepaid debit cards for a fee.
Alabama Man Charged with Identity Theft, Wire Fraud, and Access Device Fraud
The US Department of Justice says Kenneth Jerome Blackmon Jr. was charged with aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, access device fraud, and misuse of a Social Security number. The indictment claims that Blackmon took part in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme from January to November in 2011.
Blackmon is accused of possessing lists of names, social security numbers, and dates of birth as well as prepaid debit cards, all for the purpose of obtaining fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS.
If convicted, Blackmon faces a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison for each of the two wire fraud counts, 10 years for the access device fraud count, 5 years for the misuse of a Social Security number count, and a mandatory 2-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft counts. He is also subject to fines and mandatory restitution.