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Last 3 tax fraud defendants plead guilty

13 people, mostly in Statesboro, admit to seeking fraudulent tax return money

Last 3 tax fraud defendants plead guilty

Last 3 tax fraud defendants plead guilty


The last three of 13 federal defendants in a tax fraud and stolen identity scheme centered in Statesboro pleaded guilty last week.

Porsche Pinkney, Tidaesha V. Taylor and Gregory F. Smith entered guilty pleas as they stood before United States District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield in federal court in Statesboro, according to the U.S. District Attorney's Office.

Since March, 10 others involved in the tax and identity fraud scheme have pleaded guilty as well.

Earlier this year, the 13 were charged with federal crimes ranging from conspiracy to defraud the IRS to identity theft from medical records, said Edward J. Tarver, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

"According to evidence presented during hearings in these cases, the participants in the scheme illicitly obtained personal identifiers, such as names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, which they then used to prepare and submit fraudulent tax returns in order to unlawfully obtain tax refunds," he said.

On March 12, Asha K. Spaulding, 37, of Claxton, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

Shakita Eason, 30, of Statesboro, pleaded guilty June 18 to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, and misusing medical records

On June 25, Andrea Webb, 31, of Register, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. Also that day, Erica Baldwin, 31, and Joshua Mincey, 20, both of Statesboro, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and misusing medical records.

Two defendants entered guilty pleas July 11: Yolanda Edmond, 36, of Statesboro, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and misusing medical records. Gloria Evans, 44, of Statesboro, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.

On July 30, Tracy Denson, 44, of Statesboro, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and misusing medical records. Also, Dwan Scott, 32, of Statesboro, and Jenna Scott, 28, of Jacksonville, Fla., both pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.

The final defendants entered guilty pleas Aug. 21: Porsche S. Pinkney, 18, of Augusta, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, and misusing medical records. Also, Gregory F. Smith Jr., 21, of Stone Mountain, and Tidaesha V. Taylor, 27, of College Park, both pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.

"These defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for the conspiracy charges, 10 years imprisonment for the charge of misusing medical records, and a two-year mandatory, consecutive prison sentence for aggravated identity theft," Tarver said. "Each of these charges also carries a fine of up to $250,000."

Sentencing dates for these defendants have not yet been scheduled.

"These convictions demonstrate the continuing commitment of the Department of Justice to protecting the identities and the privacy of medical records of American citizens," he said. "This investigation is ongoing. Our law enforcement partners will continue to track down identity thieves and bring them to justice."

Statesboro Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Marcus Kirkland and Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Gwen Weston are the federal law enforcement officers who have been leading the investigation in these cases, in connection with the Statesboro Police Department and other state and local agencies. Assistant United States Attorneys David Stewart and Lamont A. Belk are prosecuting the cases.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

 

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