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5 plead in tax fraud schemes

22 convicted so far this year; two cases pending

Five women, four from Statesboro, pleaded guilty last week in federal court for their involvement in a stolen identify tax fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver announced Tuesday in a news release.

The guilty pleas bring the total number convicted in similar schemes this year to 22, Tarver said.

All of the five who pleaded last week are awaiting sentencing. They, along with any other defendants not yet sentenced, face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the charges of wire fraud conspiracy and wire fraud, 10 years for the charges of access device fraud and misuse of medical records, five years for the charge of conspiracy to commit theft of public funds, and a two-year mandatory, consecutive prison sentence for aggravated identity theft. Each of these charges also carries a fine of up to $250,000.

"These cases demonstrate the continuing commitment of the United States Attorney's Office to protecting the privacy of medical records and the hard-earned money of honest taxpayers," Tarver said. "This investigation is ongoing. Our law enforcement partners will continue to track down these identity thieves and bring them to justice."

The five who pleaded last week before U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield in Statesboro are:

- Aleceia Lovett, 29, of Statesboro, charged in September and pleaded guilty Dec. 4 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft
- Cierra Johnson, 22, of Statesboro, charged in September and pleaded guilty Dec. 4 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft
- Kandice White, 25, of Sylvania, charged in and pleaded guilty Dec. 4 to conspiracy to commit theft of public funds and aggravated identity theft
- Danielle Clark, 26, of Statesboro, charged in September and pleaded guilty Thursday to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft
- Sirbrina Bangs, 26, of Statesboro, charged in September and pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit theft of public funds

Earlier this year, these five defendants, along with 17 others who were also involved in similar schemes, were charged with federal crimes ranging from conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service to identity theft from medical records. According to evidence presented during hearings in these cases, the participants in these schemes 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 to unlawfully obtain tax refunds.

The five defendants who pleaded guilty last week are among the 24 defendants federally charged this year as participants in stolen identity tax fraud schemes in the Statesboro area. The statuses of each of the 19 other defendants' cases are as follows, and they await sentencing unless otherwise noted:

- Erica Baldwin, 31, of Statesboro, charged in April and pleaded guilty June 25 to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, and misusing medical records
- Tameika Clark, 24, of Statesboro, re-indicted on Dec. 3 on 26 counts of wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and access device fraud; trial date not yet scheduled
- Tracy Denson, 44, of Statesboro, charged in April and pleaded guilty July 30 to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and misusing medical records
- Shakita Eason, 30, of Statesboro, charged in April and pleaded guilty June 18 to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and misusing medical records
- Yolanda Edmond, 36, of Statesboro, charged in April and pleaded guilty July 11 to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and misusing medical records; sentenced Oct. 8 to two years, eight months in prison
- Gloria Evans, 44, of Statesboro, charged in April and pleaded guilty July 11 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft; sentenced Oct. 8 to three years, three months in prison
- Dequillia Hill, 43, of Sylvania, charged in September and pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to conspiracy to commit theft of public funds and aggravated identity theft
- Tacarro Morgan, 25, of Sylvania, charged in September and pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft
- Joshua Mincey, 20, of Statesboro, charged in April and pleaded guilty June 25 to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and misusing medical records
- Richard Parker, 60, of Sylvania, charged in September and pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to conspiracy to commit theft of public funds
- Porsche S. Pinkney, 19, of Augusta, charged in April and pleaded guilty Aug. 21 to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and misusing medical records
- Eula Mae Rodriguez, 47, of Sylvania, charged in September and pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft
- Dwan Scott, 32, of Statesboro, charged in April and pleaded guilty July 30 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft
- Jenna Scott, 28, of Jacksonville, Fla., charged in April and pleaded guilty July 30 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft
- Devang Shah, 32, of Sylvania, charged in September with conspiracy to commit theft of public funds; guilty plea hearing not yet scheduled
- Gregory F. Smith Jr., 21, of Stone Mountain, charged in April and pleaded guilty Aug. 21 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft
- Asha K. Spaulding, 37, of Claxton, charged in March and pleaded guilty March 12 to wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns; sentenced Oct. 8 to 12 years, 10 months in prison
- Tidaesha V. Taylor, 27, of College Park, charged in April and pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft
- Andrea Webb, 31, of Register, charged in April and pleaded guilty June 5 to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft

FBI Special Agent Marcus Kirkland and IRS Criminal Investigation 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 U.S. Attorneys David Stewart and Lamont A. Belk are prosecuting the cases.

 

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