A grand jury has indicted four Anchorage residents for filing false federal tax returns from 2010 to 2012 using the names and Social Security numbers of other people, many of whom were inmates in correctional facilities.
According to court records, federal authorities this week arrested three of the alleged conspirators: Steven McComb, 46; Paulando Williams, 47; and Helen Maloney, 44. Another man charged in the indictment, Michael Sexton, 42, was still at large as of Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a written statement Wednesday.
The indictment, unsealed Tuesday, explains the federal prosecutors' allegations:
McComb, Williams, Maloney and Sexton "obtained" the names and Social Security numbers of at least 35 people and filed about 100 fraudulent tax returns on their behalf. Many of the stolen identities belonged to people locked up in jails or prisons, and the returns included fake amounts for wages and withheld taxes for which W-2s had not been issued.
It is unclear from the indictment how the four gained access to the personal information.
"In some instances, the conspirators obtained this information without the knowledge or permission of the individual," the indictment says. "Each return claimed that the taxpayer was owed thousands of dollars in refunds to which they were not entitled."
After processing the returns, the U.S. Treasury sent tax refunds in the form of paper checks to the conspirators' addresses or deposits to their bank accounts. Altogether, the scheme took in $110,698 from tax returns claiming $213,267 in refunds.
McComb, Sexton and Williams face charges of conspiracy to defraud the government, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Maloney is charged with conspiracy to defraud the government and mail fraud.
Reach Casey Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.
By CASEY GROVE