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Tax Preparer Sentenced for Identity Theft
From: Erica Absetz <eabsetz () opensecurityfoundation org>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 12:33:33 -0500


WASHINGTON D.C. (1/31/13) – Willie C. Grant, a tax return preparer
from Macon, Ga., was sentenced to 60 months in prison by for filing
false claims for tax refunds, theft of government money and aggravated
identity theft, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) announced today. U.S. District Court Chief Judge C.
Ashley Royal also ordered Grant to pay over $200,000 in restitution to
the IRS.

According to court documents, from 2003 through 2008, Grant owned and
operated a tax return preparation business, Grant Income Tax
Bookkeeping and Check Cash (GIT) out of his home in Macon. During this
time period, Grant filed false federal income tax returns in the names
of deceased individuals and used many of his former clients’ names and
Social Security numbers to file wholly fraudulent returns without
their knowledge or consent. Grant directed the IRS to either
electronically deposit refunds into his personal or business bank
accounts or issue paper refund Treasury checks which he cashed or
deposited into bank accounts he controlled. Grant spent the proceeds
of his false refund scheme on personal items including expensive cars
and personal living expenses. Grant admitted that that he abused his
position of private trust as a professional paid tax preparer in
committing these crimes.

“Honest taxpayers are doubly harmed when they entrust return preparers
with their information, who turn out to be thieves who steal that
information to enrich themselves by making fraudulent refund claims,”
said Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally. “The Justice
Department will investigate and prosecute stolen identity refund fraud
in all of its various forms.”

“When Mr. Grant stole these identities and defrauded the IRS, he
victimized not only the people whose names and social security numbers
he used, but every tax paying citizen in the United States. My office,
with the continued cooperation of our law enforcement partners, will
make sure that people like Mr. Grant are held to account for their
fraud,” said Michael Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of

“Mr. Grant used a foundation of fraud and deceit in order to cheat the
government and victimize innocent taxpayers and is now being held
accountable for his egregious behavior,” said Richard Weber, Chief IRS
Criminal Investigation. “As a paid tax preparer, Grant held a position
of trust in the eyes of his clients. He violated that trust and caused
immeasurable harm to innocent victims. IRS Criminal Investigation has
made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority and
we will vigorously pursue those who undermine the integrity of those
individuals whose identities were stolen, as well as the U.S. tax

Assistant Attorney General Keneally commended the efforts of special
agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and
Tax Division Trial Attorneys Charles M. Edgar, Jr. and Justin K.
Gelfand, who prosecuted the case.
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