Federal authorities have charged a Phenix City man in a scheme to file more than 7,000 fraudulent tax returns involving $19 million.
The suspect is William Anthony Gosha III, whose aliases include “Boo,” “Boo Boo,” and “Gosh,” according to acting U.S. Attorney A. Clark Morris, who said Gosha faces charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiring to file fraudulent refund claims.
A 17-page indictment alleges that from November 2010 to December 2013, Gosha and his accomplices stole personal identification information from prison inmates and other sources and used IRS electronic filing identification numbers from sham tax-preparation businesses to file the returns.
Gosha and his co-conspirators then directed the IRS to send refunds in the form of prepaid debit cards, treasury checks or direct deposits, investigators said. They recruited postal workers to providee addresses from their mail routes to which the refund checks could be sent, and then cashed the checks at businesses in Alabama and Georgia, authorities said.
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Others named in the indictment are Tracy Mitchell, Latasha “Tasha” Mitchell, Dameisha “Meisha” Mitchell, Earnest James Simmons Jr., and Pamela Ann Smith, all of Phenix City; Keisha Lanier, also known as “Keshia Gray” and “Keisha Williams,” of Seale, Ala., and also of Newnan, Ga.; Elizabeth Grant of Seale; Tamika Floyd of Salem, Ala.; and Mequetta Snell-Quick of Columbus.
The indictment says Floyd from 2006 to 2013 worked for the Alabama Department of Public Health in Opelika, where she was able to steal personal identification information. Gosha also stole such information from the Alabama Department of Corrections, providing it to Lanier, Perry, Simmons and Smith for filing fraudulent federal income tax returns, the indictment says.
It says Smith owned Jaycal Tax Service in Phenix City, where Simmons and Perry worked. Lanier had an electronic tax filing number in the name of S&D Tax Service, it says.
Authorities allege Gosha, Tracy Mitchell and others recruited Grant, a postal worker, to aid in the scheme by giving Mitchell tax-refund checks sent to addresses on her postal route.
Gosha is accused of collecting refund checks sent to addresses such as Mallard Creek Drive, Kimball Drive, Lasso Loop, Ponderosa Drive, Gunsmoke Trail, Ladonia Drive and Hancock Road in Phenix City; and to Avalon Circle, Harvest Drive, Lato Road, Rutledge Road and Uchee Hill Highway in Seale.
If convicted, Gosha faces up to 10 years in prison for conspiracy, up to 20 years for each count of wire and mail fraud and at least two years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft.