A Montgomery County, Alabama, resident pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft for his involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) scheme, Acting Assistant Attorney Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama announced today.
According to court documents, Jerome Marcel Newton obtained the personal identifying information of others in various ways, including by paying other individuals to collect multiple identities or by recruiting people to provide their identities to him. Although Newton resided in Alabama, a number of the identities were of people living in Pittsburgh. Newton also obtained the identity information of prison inmates from jail records. In 2011, Newton used the identities he obtained to file false tax returns, directing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to deposit the fraudulent refunds claimed on those returns into bank accounts that he controlled or onto prepaid debit cards. Some of the prepaid debit cards were then mailed to addresses within the Middle District of Alabama.
Newton’s sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled. At sentencing, Newton faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the mail fraud count and a mandatory two-year minimum sentence and a $250,000 fine for the aggravated identity theft count. Newton will also be subject to mandatory restitution.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Beck commended special agents of the IRS – Criminal Investigation and officers of the Sheriff’s Office for Douglas County, Georgia, who investigated the case, as well as Trial Attorneys Jason H. Poole and Michael C. Boteler of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan S. Ross of the Middile District of Alabama, who are prosecuting the case.