The U.S. Department of Justice Monday announced that two people who engineered a complicated identity theft and tax fraud scheme involving a debt collection agency were sentenced to years-long stints in prison.
A judge in the Middle District of Alabama sentenced Quentin Collick to 85 months in prison for conspiring to file false claims, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and three counts of theft of public funds. Deatrice Williams was sentenced to 51 months in prison for conspiring to file false claims, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
Another accomplice, Corey Thompson, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in jail.
Based on 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 a database that stored names, social security numbers and dates of birth of individuals who owed medical debts. Williams stole the identities of a number of these individuals and provided the stolen information to Collick, her son-in-law.
Collick and Thompson used stolen identities to file false tax returns and fraudulently claim tax refunds. In 2011 and 2012, Thompson worked as an independent contractor for a cable company installing cable and internet access for customers. To conceal the filing of the false tax returns, Thompson used his specialized knowledge and equipment to shut down and hijack his customers’ internet service, and along with Collick, filed false tax returns using the customers’ internet access, making it appear as if the false tax returns were being filed by the customers. Thompson and Collick then directed the tax refunds to be placed on pre-paid debit cards, which were mailed to Montgomery, Ala. However, those cards were intercepted by the U.S. Postal Service. Several tax refund checks were also mailed by the IRS, based upon the fraudulent returns, which Collick retrieved and cashed.
In July, Collick and Williams were found guilty in a jury trial.