Tallahassee, FL -- January 24, 2012 --
Nine defendants have been charged with conspiring to defraud the United States in the filing of false tax returns. The 116-count indictment, unsealed today, also charges wire fraud, false claims, and aggravated identity theft.
The charges were announced by Pamela C. Marsh, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Loretta Lashaun Glover, 41, and Henry Edward Clayton, 31, of Tampa, Willie James Coachman,67, of Jasper, Tasheika Shamona Jackson, 24, Melissa Lynn Clayton, 21, Tabitha Ann Bass, 32, Gregory Antonio Clayton, 30, Genetris Carmine Jones, 25, and Latosha Dawn Glover, 32, all of Perry, are alleged to have conspired to fraudulently obtain tax refunds by filing false federal income tax returns. The indictment charges that between 2008 and 2011, members of the group prepared and filed fraudulent returns seeking more than $2.4 million in tax refunds. Members of the conspiracy created the fraudulent returns using taxpayer identification numbers and other personal identifying information stolen from both living and deceased individuals, as well as wholly fictitious information such as employer names, names of dependents, and tax withholding amounts.
In addition to conspiring to submit false claims, Glover is also charged with thirty-seven substantive counts of false claims against the United States, as well as seventy-three counts of wire fraud, based upon her submission of the fraudulent returns. Glover, Bass, Melissa Clayton, and Jones are each charged with aggravated identity theft based upon the unauthorized use of personal identifying information of victims as part of Glover’s scheme to commit wire fraud.
The indictment also charges the following defendants with wire fraud, based on their roles in depositing the proceeds of the refund scheme: Henry Clayton, twelve counts, Melissa Clayton, three counts, Willie Coachman, seven counts, Gregory Clayton, one count, Tasheika Jackson, five counts, and Jones, three counts.
If convicted, the defendants face maximum sentences of ten years in prison for conspiracy, five years for filing false claims, and twenty years for wire fraud. If convicted of aggravated identity theft, Glover, Bass, Jones, and Melissa Clayton each face a separate mandatory minimum term of two years’ imprisonment, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence.
U.S. Attorney Marsh extended her grateful appreciation to the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Perry Police Department, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lowndes County Georgia Sheriff’s Department, whose joint investigation led to the indictment in this case.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Coody.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.