In 2015 alone, the IRS was able to convict 774 different identity thieves ... and let me tell you, some of them were doozies. That's why the IRS released its list of "Top 10 Identity Theft Prosecutions" for 2015.
It should come as no surprise that all but one on this list involve tax return schemes, but another thing they all have in common is that they got caught.
See how much restitution had to be paid (the total might shock you) and add up the jail time. All in all, the recovered amount by the IRS hovers around, just by this list's totals:
- Around $18 million was ordered to be paid restitution;
- 48 masterminds and co-conspirators are behind bars;
- and the total prison time dished out is 2,600 months - that's around 50 years.
Here is the IRS' list of its "Top 10 Identity Theft Prosecutions"
1. James Lee Cobb III and wife, Eneshia Carlyle, busted in Tampa
The pair pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The pair had more than 7,000 victims, whose personal information, such as names and Social Security numbers, were stolen from medical records and used to file $3 million in fake tax returns.
Cobb was sentenced to 324 months (that's more than 27 years!) in prison and ordered to forfeit $1,820,759 in restitution. Carlyle was sentenced to 138 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
2. Nine busted in tax fraud ring in Georgia
The group ran a tax return scheme from 2011 to 2013 in which more than 9,000 fake income tax returns were filed through a fake tax prep business, claiming more than $24 million in fraudulent claims. The IRS paid out close to $10 million out of the $24 million claimed.
The group's leader, Keisha Lanier, was sentenced to 180 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit more than $5 million.
3. Group in Miami busted, one accomplice on the run
This group of four men used stolen information to file fraudulent tax returns and were only caught when police found one of the men removing a box with stolen personal identifying information from a storage unit.
The leader, Eddie Blanchard, was sentenced to 204 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $568,625. Two other men were convicted while the fourth member remains on the run.
4. A family affair
Julio C. Concepcion, with the help of his two sons and three others, were able to file fraudulent tax returns using stolen information. Concepcion will serve 84 months in prison with three years of supervised release, and will pay $5,643,695 in restitution.
5. More than 1,100 fraudulent tax returns filed by four Georgia residents
Patrice Taylor and her husband Antonio Taylor were able to file 1,084 fraudulent tax returns, including using the names and personal information stolen from the hospital where Patrice worked. The Taylors also used identities of more than 500 16-year-olds to file the fake tax returns. She was sentenced to 84 months while Antonio was sentenced to 147 months in prison, and both were ordered to pay $1,107,802 in restitution to the IRS. Two other accomplices were sentenced to 20 and 12 months, and ordered to pay $94,959 and $6,256 in restitution.
6. Another scheme in Georgia
A group of 15 was busted and sentenced to a range of 126 to 18 months, as well as five years of probation, for their part in a tax fraud ring. Restitution combined for the group hovers around $84,940.
7. Alabama women busted in tax refund fraud
Tamaica Hoskins was the ringleader in a major tax fraud ring, running a fake tax return service in which they used more than 1,000 stolen identities to file more than $4 million in false claims from September 2011 to June 2014. Hoskins was ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution and will see 145 months in prison with three years of supervised release.
One of Hoskins' co-conspirators, Lashelia Alexander, worked for a Wal-Mart check cashing center and accepted more than $100,000 in kickbacks for cashing the fake checks and was sentenced to pay the money back, as well as serve six months in prison with five years of probation.
8. Tampa woman sentenced for stolen identity refund fraud
Tiffani Pye Williams, also in Tampa, used various aliases to transfer nearly 1,000 victims' personal information and file fraudulent federal income tax returns to the tune of $5.3 million in refunds. She received close to $1.5 million. She now faces 13 months in prison and ordered to pay the United States Treasury $1,533,283 in restitution to for theft of government property and aggravated identity theft.
9. Three busted in Houston
Jason Maclaskey, Omar Butt and Heather Dale stole names, debit card numbers, birthdays and Social Security numbers from 371 individuals to file fake tax returns in 2009. They were able to get away with $300,000 of the $1.4 million they falsely claimed. They now will serve 120, 40 and 24 months in prison, respectively.
10. Unemployment scheme in Florida
Densom Beaucejour and Winzord Beaucejour filed a fake unemployment insurance claim in the name of a police officer. When searched by police, agents found personal information of more than 1,000 people, and guns, cash, credit cards and 365 fake tax returns, totaling nearly $1 million in claims, were tied to their residence as well. Each will serve 70 months in prison, pay $553,204 in restitution and have three years of supervised release.