Debt Collector Convicted in Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Scheme

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The U.S. Department of Justice Wednesday announced that Quentin Collick and Deatrice Williams were each found guilty this week of one count of conspiring to defraud the United States by filing fraudulent federal income tax returns, three counts of wire fraud, and three counts of aggravated identity theft. Collick was also convicted of three counts of theft of public money. Williams worked for a debt collection agency and supplied the information used in the scheme.

George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, said that based upon the evidence introduced at trial and court filings, Williams worked for a debt collection company located in Norcross, Ga. As an employee, Williams had access to names, social security numbers, and dates of birth of individuals who owed medical debts. Williams accessed several files and handwrote the personal information. Williams provided the stolen information to Collick, her son-in-law.

Collick and his co-conspirator, Corey Thompson, then filed false tax returns. In 2011 and 2012, Thompson worked as an independent contractor for a cable company. As an independent contractor, Thompson installed cable and internet access for customers. In order to perpetrate the conspiracy, Thompson used his laptop and his specialized knowledge and equipment to essentially shut down and hijack his customers’ internet service. Thompson and Collick then filed false tax returns using the customers’ hijacked internet address, which made it appear as if the false tax returns were being filed by the customer. Thompson and Collick directed the tax refunds to be placed on pre-paid debit cards. The pre-paid debit cards were intercepted by the United States Postal Service.

Thompson previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in jail.

“These criminals not only stole innocent people’s identities, but used innocent victims’ internet service to continue this crime,” said U.S. Attorney Beck. “Taking advantage of innocent victims will not be tolerated. Our office will continue to work to obtain justice for all victims.”

Collick and Williams currently await sentencing. Collick faces a maximum prison term of 106 years, and Williams faces a maximum prison term of 76 years.

This case was investigated by the IRS – Criminal Investigation Division and prosecuted by Tax Division Trial Attorneys Michael Boteler, Jason H. Poole and Alexander Effendi.

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