A $1 million fraudulent income tax refund scheme has led to 43 year old Adrian Bridges of Mableton being sentenced to four years in federal prison. The former Cobb County mail carrier was convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and theft in August. Bridges has been ordered by US District Judge Steve C. Jones to serve four years in federal prison and three years of supervised released. In addition, he was ordered to pay $81,878 in compensation.
A well organized crime
According to tax attorneys following the case, Bridges has been sentenced along with five other individuals for running a fraudulent income tax refund scheme between July 2012 and October 2013. The others involved include 31-year old Kenneth Campbell and 28-year-old Corey Thomas from Atlanta, who used stolen identification information of hundreds of individuals and claimed over $400,000 in tax refunds. They also used false wage and withholding information.
Once the tax refunds were processed, they applied them to blank prepaid debit cards that were mailed to different addresses throughout Atlanta. Many of the fake addresses were found to be linked to an apartment complex in Cobb County, which was where Adrian Bridges served as a mail carrier. According to authorities, his role was to retrieve the prepaid cards from the mail.
Stolen identity information
The two Atlanta men were also convicted in August. While Campbell was sentenced last month to seven years and three months in federal prison, Thomas, his partner in crime, received a five year and one month federal prison term. Both were ordered to pay $139,610 and $114,754 as restitution, respectively. According to tax attorneys, the three others to be sentenced previously include 30-year-old Juarez Johnson, 33-year-old Justin Cody and wife, 26-year-old Aeshia Wilmore, also from Atlanta.
Johnson, a former worker at the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk’s Office, was recruited by Campbell to pass on stolen identity information. Johnson gained access to county databases on several occasions in September of 2013, which contained data on numerous people booked into Fulton County Jail. The information was passed on to Campbell who used it to create fake identities to collect the fraudulent tax refunds.
Justin Cody and his wife were also recruited by Campbell to file fraudulent federal and state tax returns. Both were charged with theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft in November 2013. Cody was ordered to seven years and three months in federal prison while his wife, Wilmore, received a two year sentence. They were ordered to pay $150,329 each in restitution. Cody and his wife were also involved in another similar scheme in which they made over than $600,000 in fraudulent tax refunds, and were subsequently charged.
Another black mark on the broken US Post Office
Juarez Johnson was sentenced to one year of probation in July this year after being convicted of identity theft. All the six convictions and sentencing were carried out by US District Judge Steve C. Jones. In defense of his organization Area Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service Paul Bowman said that Adrian Bridge’s case reflected a very small percentage of the service’s workforce who failed to uphold the trust and integrity placed in them.