Monday, December 5, 2011

Shelton DeWayne Tanner Pleads Guilty to Tax Return Scheme That Victimized Disability Recipients


PHOENIX, Ariz. – Shelton DeWayne Tanner, 40, of Tucson, Ariz., pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy in connection with a tax return scheme that relied on stolen identities of disabled individuals.

As part of his guilty plea, Tanner admitted that he and others used the identities of individual taxpayers receiving disability benefits to file more than 150 tax returns and falsely claim more than $800,000 in bogus tax refunds. Tanner also admitted that he and others concealed their fraud by filing the tax returns electronically using their neighbors’ unsecured wireless networks, directing the refunds to prepaid debit card accounts they had obtained under false identities, and recruiting friends and associates to receive the prepaid debit cards by mail at various addresses.

Tanner and two others, Latricia Williams and Gezelle Amaechi, were charged by indictment on December 28, 2010. The indictment alleges that Amaechi worked during 2008 for an organization that provided services to disabled people, and that the identities of some of the organization’s clients were used in the scheme. A trial date of November 29, 2011, is set for Williams and Amaechi.

A conviction for conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Frederick J. Martone will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

Sentencing for Shelton DeWayne Tanner is set for set before Judge Martone on February 6, 2012.

Report IRS Tax Fraud by Calling 1-888-482-6825 or by visiting

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