Detroit Residents Use Identities of Recently Deceased to Defraud IRS, Plead Guilty

Recently it was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade that two Detroit residents pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in the use of false identification, and wire fraud. Jarod Koopman, Acting Special Agent in Charge IRS Criminal Investigation joined McQuade in the announcement. iStock_000004337124

According to the press release, McAllen Jackson Knight and Renita Adams worked with others in filing hundreds of fraudulent tax returns for the year 2010, using the social security numbers and names of individuals who were recently deceased. Those involved in the scheme used various credits including education and earned income credits, and Making American Work credits in order to obtain refunds. Adams and Knight worked in conjunction with the others to establish bank accounts for the receipt of the fraudulent refunds, and to distribute the refunds among participants.

According to court documents, Knight, Adams, and two other defendants used the information from decedents who had passed away across the U.S. between September 1 of 2010 and March 13 of 2011.

The press release indicated that the court will set a sentencing hearing for Knight and Adams. Wire fraud is a serious offense, with maximum penalties including fines of up to $250,000, a maximum prison term of 20 years, or both. Using fraudulent identification to intentionally defraud the IRS or federal government will result in the same fine, and a maximum prison term of 15 years.

Those involved in investigating this case include IRS Criminal Investigation special agents. The defendants were prosecuted by Kenneth Vert, Trial Attorney with the DOJ Tax Division, and Assistant U.S.. Attorney Ross MacKenzie.

Michigan white collar crime attorneys understand the seriousness of filing fraudulent tax claims with the IRS. As indicated above, the criminal penalties are extremely harsh. In addition to the $250,000 fine, it is likely Adams, Knight, and other participants involved will be required to pay restitution.

If you have been accused of filing fraudulent returns with the IRS or any financial crime, consult with a skilled and capable Michigan criminal defense lawyer who will work to protect your freedom, reputation, and career.