On Friday, two more Georgians were arrested on federal charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to defraud the government stemming from an alleged tax fraud scheme. These arrests are just two of many recent tax fraud prosecutions in both federal and state courts in Georgia.
Kevin Joseph Sonnier and Bernardo Davis, both from Clayton County, are alleged to have filed over 15,000 false tax returns in the past two years by using information gathered on a website that purported to offer help obtaining “Obama stimulus payments.” According to the government, the stimulus payment offer was “bogus,” although the DOJ has not yet provided any specific information about why the offer was invalid. Sonnier’s tax preparation service in Morrow and Davis’ home in Ellenwood were searched for evidence of the alleged fraud.
In the weeks preceding the arrests of Sonnier and Davis, federal and state law enforcement arrested at least eight other individuals for alleged tax violations. The alleged offenses and schemes differ greatly, highlighting the variety of ways individuals can run afoul of U.S. tax laws.
Jarred Corker was arrested in January after police found 21 debit cards and a large amount of cash on him during a traffic stop. According to federal prosecutors, Corker filed a large number of fraudulent tax returns and obtained tax refunds on the debit cards, issued by Turbo Tax. Two individuals, also arrested in January, are alleged to have used identity theft to carry out separate tax fraud schemes. Frederick Robers of Atlanta and Amechi Igabari of Marietta are both charged with aggravated identity theft in addition to theft and fraud charges for filing fraudulent tax returns using others’ personal information. Finally, in late January, 5 women from metro Atlanta— Brittany Banks, Kimberly Banks, Monique Bussey, Melissa Helm, and Shaneka Richards—were indicted in Fulton County on charges relating to state tax offenses. Each was charged with racketeering and theft for their roles in an alleged scheme to file false Georgia tax returns in the names of non-Georgians.
Our experienced federal criminal attorneys have an outstanding track record, obtaining dismissals, pre-trial diversions, not-guilty verdicts, and probation-only sentences for clients facing serious federal criminal charges. In one federal tax fraud case, we negotiated a straight probation sentence for a client facing up to 10 years imprisonment and almost a half million dollars in restitution. In other large federal cases, we obtained a dismissal for a client charged with a multi-million dollar fraud, and obtained a straight probation sentence for a former prosecutor charged with mortgage fraud. If you are facing federal fraud charges, our attorneys can help protect your rights and help you get the best possible outcome.
Page Pate is an accomplished trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience in criminal defense, civil litigation, and whistleblower representation. Page is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, and named to the list of Super Lawyers for the past 15 consecutive years. Page is a frequent expert legal analyst for local and national media and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Georgia Law School. Read Page’s reviews on AVVO. Follow Page on Twitter @pagepate and on Linkedin.