3 Apache Junction residents sentenced in tax-fraud scheme

Three Apache Junction residents have been sentenced for their parts in a false tax-refund scheme, according to Special Agent in Charge Ismael Nevarez Jr. of the Internal Revenue Service’s Phoenix Field Office.

The investigation was conducted by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation with assistance by the Apache Junction Police Department.

On Sept. 18, Judith Ann Eastman was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Douglas L. Rayes to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $86,276 to the IRS. On Aug. 7, Douglas Joseph Charron was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $439,559. On Sept. 11, Beverly LaShea Lock was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $411,534.

All three defendants previously pleaded guilty to filing false claims for refund. In addition, defendants Mr. Charron and Ms. Lock pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, according to a press release.

According to their plea agreements, the co-defendants began promoting and submitting false tax returns with the IRS in the names of third party individuals claiming false and fraudulent tax refunds. They promoted their scheme as an economic stimulus program in order to recruit participants and obtain individuals’ names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. Once the defendants obtained this personal identification information, they prepared or caused others to prepare false and fraudulent individual income tax returns in the names of these individuals with false wages, expenses and credits in amounts designed to generate a tax refund, according to the release.

“Identity theft is a serious crime. IRS-CI is committed to delivering justice to those whose personal information is stolen and used to commit tax fraud,” Agent Nevarez said in the release.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment