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Trio sentenced in ID theft, tax fraud scheme

Published 4:51pm Friday, March 29, 2013

A Wetumpka woman and a Millbrook man were sentenced Friday to 93 combined months in prison in connection with an identity theft and tax fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Mary Bennett of Wetumpka, Narendrakumar Patel of Millbrook and Eugenia Burks of Montgomery were part of a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain federal and state tax refunds from several different states by using stolen identities.
Bennett, who was sentenced to 75 months in jail, admitted to being the one responsible for filing the tax returns as well as storing stolen identity information at her home.
Patel, who was sentenced to 24 months in jail, cashed some of the refund checks. The former owner of a check-cashing business admitted to cashing the forged checks and then sharing the proceeds.
Burks was sentenced to 18 months through her involvement in the scheme.
“These unscrupulous (people) thought they had figured out a clever scheme to thwart the IRS and steal from American taxpayers,’ said Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot. “As (they) have learned, stealing from the American people will not be tolerated and you will be held accountable.”
Bennett had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as aggravated identity theft.
Burks pleaded guilty to conspiracy, while Patel pleaded guilty to forging state securities.
“This case is another example of the punishment that will result from stealing people’s identities and fraudulently filing tax returns,” said acting U.S. Attorney Sandra Stewart.

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