Two people found guilty of orchestrating an elaborate tax fraud and identity theft scheme involving a collection agency were sentenced to prison terms on Friday.
Quentin Collick, of Montgomery, Ala., received an 85-month jail term. Deatrice Williams, of Duluth, Ga., received a 51-month sentence. Collick and Williams in July were found guilty by a jury in the Middle District of Alabama of conspiring to file false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Collick also was convicted of three counts of theft of public funds. Corey Thompson, a co-conspirator, pleaded guilty and previously was sentenced to 30 months in jail.
Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the U.S. Department of Justice's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama George L. Beck Jr. announced the sentences for Collick and Williams.
Williams worked for a collection company located in Norcross, Ga. She had access to a database that stored names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth of individuals who owed medical debts. Based on evidence introduced at trial and court filings, she stole the identities of an unknown number of people and provided the stolen information to Collick, her son-in-law.
Collick and co-conspirator Thompson used the stolen identities to file false tax returns and fraudulently claim tax refunds. In 2011 and 2012, Thompson worked as an independent contractor for a cable company installing cable and internet access for customers.
To hide the filing of the false tax returns, Thompson used his specialized knowledge and equipment to shut down and hijack his customers internet service and, along with Collick, filed false tax returns using the customers internet access, making it appear as if the false tax returns were being filed by the customers.
Thompson and Collick then directed the tax refunds to be placed on pre-paid debit cards, which were mailed to Montgomery, Ala. However, those cards were intercepted by the U.S. Postal Service. Several tax refund checks also were mailed by the Internal Revenue Service, based upon the fraudulent returns, which Collick retrieved and cashed.
The case was investigated by special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Tax Division Trial Attorneys Michael Boteler, Jason H. Poole and Alexander Effendi.