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Recent Wave of Tax Refund Fraud Arrests in Georgia

February 4, 2013

Over the course of the last month, nine individuals have been arrested in Georgia and charged with committing a variety of state and federal tax fraud offenses all centering around the obtaining of fraudulent tax refunds.s

Last week, Kevin Joseph Sonnier and Bernardo Davis were arrested and charged with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to defraud the government in connection with what the U.S. Attorney’s Office claims is a $15 million tax fraud scheme.

Sonnier and Davis are alleged to have claimed $15 million in federal tax refunds. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, the men filed more than 15,000 false tax returns claiming millions of dollars of fraudulent refunds in 2011 and 2012. The men allegedly obtained the thousands of names and Social Security numbers used in the tax returns from a website they designed advertising fake “Obama stimulus payments.” In addition to soliciting personal information, the website provided a toll-free number that the visitors could call for more information on the stimulus payments. In conjunction with the arrests, federal agents searched Sonnier’s tax service business in Morrow as well as his residence in Ellenwood.

Sonnier and Davis are just the latest in a string of arrests for tax refund fraud. The Georgia Attorney General’s Office announced last week that five individuals had been indicted on similar charges of filing false tax returns claiming thousands of dollars in refunds from the State. The individuals have been charged with racketeering and theft by taking.

Additionally, Jarred Ryan Corker was arrested by the Atlanta Police Department at the end of January and charged with theft of government property for allegedly possessing 21 Visa debit cards issued by TurboTax that were loaded with fraudulently obtained 2011 tax refunds issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

Frederick Roberts was also arrested and charged with filing false tax returns with the IRS. Roberts allegedly used stolen identities in filing the returns. He was also charged with mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and filing a false claim against the United States.

Finally, Amechi Igbari was charged with theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft after he allegedly used the stolen identities of at least 15 people to claim fraudulent tax refunds.

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