DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Two Detroit women will spend time in prison after they filed fraudulent tax returns using identities of dead people.

Federal officials said Wednesday that Brenda Knight and Adreann Turnage were sentenced for their roles in a scheme that used names and social security numbers of the recently deceased to prepare fraudulent income tax returns.

Knight was sentenced Tuesday to 24 months while Turnage received 18 months. The pair had earlier pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aiding and abetting in identity theft.

Knight’s husband, Willie Watkins, was sentenced in April 2014 to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $411,000 in restitution for fraud and identity theft.

“The Tax Division has zero tolerance for stealing the identities of the deceased and other vulnerable members of our communities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo, in a statement.  “The individuals perpetrating these egregious tax crimes will be identified, their criminal operations will be dismantled and they will be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

More than 700 fake 2010 tax returns were filed electronically for more than $1.8 million in refund claims as part of the fraud. The refunds were directed to bank accounts.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments