A Phenix City, Alabama, resident pleaded guilty today in the Middle District of Alabama to conspiracy and aggravated identity theft for her role in a multimillion-dollar stolen identity tax refund fraud (SIRF) scheme, Acting Assistant Attorney General 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.
According to court documents, between 2011 and June 2014, Talashia Hinton, also known as LayLay and LaLa, participated in a large-scale stolen identity tax refund conspiracy. The indictment alleges that the co-conspirators filed more than 3,000 false tax returns for 2012 and 2013 that falsely claimed more than $7.5 million in federal income tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Hinton worked with Keisha Lanier, who supplied her with IRS electronic filing identification numbers in the names of sham tax businesses and stolen identities that included personal information so that Hinton could prepare and file false tax returns to claim refunds using the stolen identities. At the direction of Lanier, Hinton also obtained identities from Tamika Floyd, who stole names from databases maintained by the state of Alabama. The false returns directed the IRS to pay the refunds by issuing U.S. Treasury checks and direct deposits onto prepaid debit cards.
Tamika Floyd was sentenced to serve 87 months in prison on May 19. Lanier is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 24 and other defendants involved in the scheme were sentenced on Aug. 7. A sentencing date for Hinton has not been scheduled.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Beck Jr. commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Michael C. Boteler and Gregory P. Bailey of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross of the Middle District of Alabama, who are prosecuting the case.