2 Years in Prison for Tax Fraud
A woman with ties to Bartow County, who also was sentenced to eight years of probation, is one of three women charged by the state Department of Revenue’s Office of Special Investigations.
A Bartow County woman who pleaded guilty in a tax fraud case was sentenced to two years in prison as one of her two alleged accomplices remained at large.
Michelle Denise "Brooks" Powell, April Brown and Theresa Price were charged as the result of a Georgia Department of Revenue Office of Special Investigations probe, accused of stealing tax refund checks and using stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns, said Jud Seymour, communications director.
"Associated with one another for years," both Price and Powell, who has a lengthy criminal history, are age 40 and from the Bartow area, Seymour added.
Powell on May 8 pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree forgery and four counts of theft by receiving stolen property, all felonies, according to a press release.
She was sentenced to 10 years, two in confinement and the remaining eight on probation; 50 hours of community service; a $1,000 fine; and restitution in the amount of $2,979.
Price, who Seymour described as a first-time offender, is awaiting trial. Brown, 30, who Seymour said has a long criminal history, is at large since posting bail at the Bartow County jail, according to the release.
Stealing tax refund checks and filing fraudulent returns is becoming more prevalent across the country and in Georgia.
In 2010, state revenue department officials detected 52,000 fraudulent returns, 20,000 more than in the 2009 tax season, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The Office of Special Investigations has beefed up its efforts.
Gov. Nathan Deal has proposed spending about $5 million a year on a database to identify ID thieves who use stolen information to falsely claim state tax refunds, the Associated Press reports.