Five charged in tax refund scheme, totaling $654K - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Five charged in using false identities to claim tax refunds

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Five people were charged on Tuesday for charges ranging from falsely claiming income tax refunds to identity theft.

Ellis Scott, Bridgette Jones, Latasha Hampton, Marnay Love and Dione Howard were allegedly involved in filing false federal income tax returns with the IRS in 2010 and 2011, totaling at least $654,550.

Prosecutors say Scott, Jones and Howard worked in a team effort, obtaining names, social security numbers and dates of birth of individuals and preparing federal income tax returns in their name. They allegedly wrote fabricated information about the taxpayer as well to receive a greater refund amount, including address, dependents, occupation, income amount and education expenses

Court records indicate the suspects directed approximately 121 false income tax refunds to prepaid debit cards, and would then use them to withdraw cash from ATMs and stores.

According to authorities, Scott recruited Hampton to cash and forge endorsements on income tax refund checks. They say Hampton did so at ACE Cash Express. Love, the fifth suspect in the case, was a manager at ACE and reportedly kept a portion of the cashed refund check as a fee.

Scott, 31, was charged with one count of conspiracy to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS, 15 counts of wire fraud, one count of theft of public money, one count of possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, and five counts of aggravated identity theft.

Jones, 33, also faces one count of conspiracy to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS, 7 counts of wire fraud, one count of possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

Howard, 33, was charged with one count of conspiracy to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS and one count of identity theft.

Hampton, 33, accused of cashing the checks at ACE, faces one count of conspiracy to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS and two counts of forging endorsements on United States Treasury Checks. Love, 33, the ACE manager, was charged with one count of conspiracy to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS.

Scott and Jones appeared in court on Tuesday.  Hampton and Love had their initial appearances on Wednesday. 

An arraignment for Howard has yet to be scheduled.

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