Grand jury charges 34 defendants in $22M tax fraud
A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging 34 defendants for their alleged roles in a conspiracy to defraud the IRS of more than $22 million.
The indictment alleges the defendants, all from Battle Creek, used other individuals’ personal identification information — obtained in part from patients and employees of the Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center and inmates of the Michigan Department of Corrections — to file false tax returns, according to The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan yesterday.
In total, the indictment alleges that for tax years 2007 through 2014, the co-conspirators, led by lead defendant Derrick J. Gibson, filed at least 4,668 federal income tax returns claiming false, fictitious and fraudulent refunds totaling more than $22 million.
Twenty-four of the defendants have been arrested on the charge so far.
Each defendant faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, if convicted.
The charges result from a joint investigation by a number of agencies: the IRS, Veterans Affairs – Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Department of Homeland Security, Battle Creek Police Department, Albion Police Department, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police.
Jarod Koopman, special agent in charge, IRS Criminal Investigations, said the American tax system “will not be used as the personal piggy bank for thieves.”
“The allegations in this case show a blatant disregard of the law,” he said. “The filing of false returns is notoriously disruptive to those whose information was misused without their knowledge and to the IRS’ mission.”
U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles Jr. vowed that his office will “continue to lead investigations into cases where identification information was misused as a tool to commit tax fraud.”
Derrick J. Gibson, Charmica Griffin, Stephanie T. Baker, Latia M. Williams, Alvin E. Stephenson II, Sandria M. Blakley, Edward Warden Jr., Chanel McClenney, Darwin Gibson, Bobby Crabtree, Deqynn Gibson, Darrien Gibson, Rochelle R. Velasquez, Scherrie McNutt, Devoine Gibson, Prentis H. Gibson, Lamont Joyner, Shameika N. Carr-McClenney, Charleeta Cork, Keith Cork, Maiya R. Jackson, Shawn McKnight, David Haymer, Diallo Dotson, Romell Bolden, Labrisha Porter, Kypree Taylor, Rosemary Boyd, Patricia Riddle-McClinton, Joseph Jeremy Johnson, Kisha N. Evans, Rashall Ford, Simone Watkins and Romaro Carswell.