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Last tax fraud defendants sentenced

Last tax fraud defendants sentenced

Last tax fraud defendants sentenced

Gregory F. Smith Jr.

Editor's note: This article has been revised to reflect the following correction, which will appear in Tuesday's print edition. Andrea Webb was sentenced to serve 51 months in prison after she was one of 13 defendants to plead guilty to participating in a Statesboro-based tax-fraud scheme. Because of incorrect information supplied by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Webb's sentence was listed incorrectly in a front-page article Wednesday.

A federal judge sentenced the last two defendants last week convicted in a stolen identity and tax fraud scheme based in Statesboro. Eleven others were sentenced previously, said United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver in a statement released Tuesday.

Tidaesha V. Taylor, 27, of College Park, Ga., and Gregory F. Smith Jr., 21, of Stone Mountain, Ga., faced U.S. District Court Judge B. Avant Edenfield in Statesboro last week. They entered guilty pleas in August.

"In total, 13 individuals were charged, convicted, and sentenced in a scheme to steal identities and submit false tax returns that cost the American taxpayers over $1 million in bogus tax refunds," Tarver said.

Last year, Taylor, Smith, and 11 others were indicted on charges ranging from a conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service to identity theft.

"According to evidence presented during guilty plea and sentencing hearings, these schemers stole personal identifiers, such as names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, from medical records and other sources, which they then used to submit fraudulent tax returns in order to obtain tax refunds to which they were not entitled," Tarver said.

Edenfield sentenced Taylor to six years, three months in prison, while Smith received a sentence of seven years, 11 months in prison.

With the 2014 tax season in full swing, "... cases like these demonstrate the substantial risks to the millions of honest tax filers of having their personal information stolen and fraudulently used," Tarver said.

"This case involved numerous individuals working together to defraud the government, as well as taxpayers, in a systematic manner," said J. Britt Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI Atlanta Field Office. "The law enforcement response, similarly, consisted of various law enforcement groups working together in a systematic manner to stem the tide of this organized criminal enterprise."

On Oct. 8, the following were sentenced in the case: Yolanda Edmond, 36, Statesboro, two years, eight months; Gloria Evans, 44, Statesboro, three years, three months; and Asha K. Spaulding, 37, Claxton, 12 years, 10 months.

On Jan. 7, the following were sentenced in the tax fraud case: Erica Baldwin, 31, Statesboro, six years, nine months; Shakita Eason, 30, Statesboro, eight years, eight months; and Andrea Webb, 31, Register, six years, three months.

On Jan. 14, Porsche S. Pinkney, 19, of Augusta, was sentenced to five years, five months, while Dwan Scott, 32, of Statesboro, was sentenced to six years in prison.
Jenna Scott, 28, of Jacksonville, Fla., was sentenced on Jan. 23 to six years, three months in prison.

On Feb. 13, Tracy Denson, 44, of Statesboro, was sentenced to eight years, four months in prison.
Statesboro FBI Special Agent Marcus Kirkland IRS Criminal Investigations Special Agent Gwen Weston led the investigation in this case, assisted by the Statesboro Police Department, Bulloch County Sheriff's Office and Region 5 of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Lamont A. Belk prosecuted the case.

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


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