Yevette Walton & Lakisha Rogers: They Interview Tax Preparers Until They Find One Willing to File 53 Fake Returns
We don't know who first came up with the phrase "you can't get good help nowadays," but whoever did likely realized the importance of having a staffer interview someone before hiring.
It's a valuable personnel lesson ingrained in Yevette Lauren Walton and Lakisha Lashell Rogers, but for all their painstaking troubles, they ended up with convictions and likely prison terms.
Then again, when you're interviewing people to see if they will help you defraud the IRS, maybe such outcomes are to be expected.
Walton and Rogers entered guilty pleas today for "conspiring to submit fraudulent tax refund claims in the names of 53 stolen identities during the current 2013 tax season," said the U.S. Attorney's Office and the IRS's Criminal Investigation division.
How thorough were these two budding businesswomen? "Walton and Rogers admitted that between February 15, 2013, and February 27, 2013, they met with a tax return preparer, interviewed him and concluded he could prepare and electronically file false tax refund claims for them," the feds say.
We can imagine the interview that would lead them to conclude the guy was the man they wanted. It would have to be conducted in a New Joisey accent.
"What would you say if -- and we're just talkin; hypotenuses here, y'know? -- but what would be your response if someone -- and we don't mean us, just someone -- were to, y'know, suggest that they might be able to get some names that might not totally be on the up and up vis-à-vis the criminal code or such?"
However it went, they must have gotten the answers they wanted: "Walton and Rogers provided this person with approximately 37 names, Social Security numbers and other means of identification," the feds said. "Walton and/or Rogers told the tax return preparer the names were 'good' because they had previously been used to get refunds."
Oh, they were "good," all right. The pair expected to get about $220,000 in refunds, and even provided automated teller machine debit card routing numbers to process the refunds. And they had a further 16 names worth $200,000 in refunds, the feds say.
The information wasn't that good, it turns out -- federal investigators were soon on their tail.
They were arrested March 8.
They will be sentenced in August and face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.