Nakeisha Hall, 40, IRS staff since IRS in 2000, ran Taxpayer Advocate Service offices in four states, assisting victims of identity theft.
While advising victims, was also using them to steal from the government
Hall operated 3-year scam using her access to IRS computers to obtain names, birth dates and Social Security numbers, then filed fake tax returns, tweaked to inflate income and employment details, netting over $438k in fraudulent tax refunds
Sentenced 9 years, Wednesday, after pleading guilty to aggravated identity theft and tax fraud affecting hundreds of taxpayers
Co-conspirators Jimmie Goodman, 37, jailed three years and five months, Lashon Roberson, 36, bagged three years, Abdulla Coleman, 40, scheduled for sentencing Sept. 14
Nakeisha Hall, a 16 year veteran of the Internal Revenue Services spent a large part of her career career in Taxpayer Advocate Service offices in four states, assisting victims of identity theft.
According to federal prosecutors, Hall, 40, used the opportuinty and means to scam the very taxpayers she was tasked with helping, using their data to steal from the government
She was sentenced Wednesday to more than nine years after pleading guilty identity theft and tax fraud affecting hundreds of taxpayers and netted hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds.
Hall allegedly led Roberson, Goodman, Coleman and at least one other conspirator in the scheme operated out of Birmingham between 2008 and 2011 that involved stealing personal identity information from the IRS to create fraudulent tax returns, and collecting the stolen refunds that were generated.The three co-conspirators, all of whom live in Birmingham, AL pleaded guilty in the case, according to the IRS.
In all, Hall attempted to steal more than $1 million, and successfully claimed more than $400,000. Hall was accused of abusing her position of trust by U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance:
“This defendant abused her position of trust as an IRS employee, using her access to compromise taxpayers’ identities to attempt to steal more than $1 million from the agency. She successfully claimed more than $400,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.”
Prosecutor Vance noted that “Hall victimized United States taxpayers and jeopardized the reputation of the IRS and its division that is intended to assist taxpayers experiencing problems resulting from identity theft. Today’s sentence reflects the outrageous and serious nature of her crime.”
“Misusing her position with the Internal Revenue Service, Ms. Hall stole the identities of American taxpayers and filed false tax returns in their names,” Karl A. Stiften of the IRS Criminal Investigations division said in a statement, adding: “Refund fraud and identity theft of this magnitude and with this degree of dishonesty and deceit, deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Hall’s sentence “reflects the outrageous and serious nature of her crime,” Vance added.
From 2008 to 2011 as Hall used her access to IRS computers to obtain names, birth dates and Social Security numbers, nformation that was recycled to submit bogus tax returns, often massaged to reflect inflated income and employment information.
At her request the fraudlent tax refunds would be put onto debit cards then mailed to addresses accessible to Hall and herco-conspirators. Her accomplices would activate the cards using the stolen identity information, then withdraw the money from ATMs or use the cards in stores.
Sometimes, they forged signatures on refund checks to cash them.
In one instance the target of the identity theft scheme was a 77-year-old Alabama man whose information Hall accessed without “a legitimate business reason.” In 2010, Hall filed a federal tax return in the man’s name, using a fictitious address and falsely stating that the man had been employed at Walmart — and that he was owed an IRS refund.
One of Hall’s co-conspirators picked up a debit card in the victim’s name for nearly $1,400. That October, the debit card was used on and near the street where the co-conspirator, Jimmie Goodman, lived. The plea agreement states that Goodman had previously “used the same ATMs and gas stations to retrieve money from his own tax refund card.”
Jimmie Goodman, 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud. He was sentenced to three years and five months in prison.
Lashon Roberson, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud affecting a financial institution and mail fraud affecting a financial institution. Roberson, who worked for years in the financial services industry, was sentenced to three years in prison.
Abdulla Coleman, 40, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud affecting a financial institution and bank fraud. He is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 14.
Hall , who “came up with the idea for the scheme” and recruited her co-conspirators, received the stiffest sentence.
The IRS offices where Hall worked work as advocates for taxpayers, especially those who are struggling to meet their obligations says on their website:
“The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS,” “We ensure you are treated fairly, and know and understand your rights. If you are having tax problems and have not been able to resolve them with the IRS, you may be eligible for free TAS assistance. We know this process can be confusing, but the worst thing you can do is nothing at all!”
Hall entered a guilty plea in February on charges of theft of government funds; aggravated identity theft; unauthorized access to a protected computer; and conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud affecting a financial institution. She was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre.
Said Ruben Florez, special agent in charge of the Treasury and inspector general for tax administration, mid-states field division: “Violations of federal law, particularly those committed by IRS employees who are entrusted to protect taxpayers’ sensitive information, will not be tolerated.”