Couple Sentenced for Stealing Hundreds of Identities to Claim More Than $600,000 in False Tax Refunds
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 28, 2014|
ATLANTA—Justin Cody, and his wife, Aeshia Wilmore, have been sentenced for their roles in a fraudulent income tax refund scheme.
“Stealing identities of innocent people has become all too common,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “The sentence these two received makes it clear that we are committed to exposing and bringing to justice anyone who engages in this conduct.”
“IRS-Criminal Investigation will remain proactive in the investigation of individuals and groups who engage in stealing the identities of innocent people,” said Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge. “We will utilize every tool available to investigate those who conspire with each other to victimize members of our community for their own personal gain.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “The FBI is pleased with the role it played in bringing these defendants to justice. The FBI will continue to provide its investigative resources and assets in protecting individuals’ identities and their use in these growing schemes involving false tax returns.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: from as early as February 2013 to May 2013, Justin Cody and his wife, Aeshia Wilmore, participated in a scheme to defraud the Department of the Treasury by filing hundreds of fraudulent income tax returns using stolen identities. This type of scheme is commonly called stolen identity refund fraud. Cody used stolen personal identification information of hundreds of victims, along with fake wage and withholding information, to prepare numerous fraudulent tax returns, claiming over $600,000 in tax refunds. After the refunds were processed, Cody had the refunds applied to blank prepaid debit cards that he and Wilmore used at various ATMs throughout the Atlanta area.
Justin Cody, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to serve seven years and three months in federal prison. Aeshia Wilmore, 25, also of Atlanta, was sentenced to two years in federal prison by United States District Judge Steve C. Jones. On November 22, 2013, Cody and Wilmore each pleaded guilty to count three of the indictment, which is a substantive count of theft of public funds. Cody also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity fraud.
This case was investigated by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Karlyn J. Hunter and Nekia Hackworth prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.Pressemails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.