A criminal ring operating both in Georgia and Pennsylvania, has now been shut down by the FBI – and three northwest residents have been caught up in the sweep.
A total of eight people have been arrested in connection with the scam thus far, including 36 year old Astrid Perry and 25 year old Heather Smith, both of Summerville, and Beverly McHenry of a Floyd County address.
According to just released reports, those arrested were involved in a tax scam operation, in which they allegedly used the names and social security numbers of innocent victims – to file fake 1040 IRS tax returns, in order to collect illegal refunds. Some of the names used in the scam belonged to inmates housed in Georgia correctional facilities.
Smith and McHenry are alleged to have then used an online tax service known as Taxslayer.com to file the bogus returns.
The refunds were then electronically funneled to bank accounts in Georgia and Pennsylvania – or mailed to post offices boxes in either Summerville or Rome.
The indictment states that Smith and McHenry opened several bank accounts – using the names: “D’s Gutter Cleaning Service”, “Heather Tax & Accounting”, “Williams Repair & Remodeling”, “Bell’s Tax Service” and “Frank Smith Tax Consulting & Home Repair”.
All three individuals are being charged under the federal mail and wire fraud statute.
They were all taken before Rome District Federal Court Magistrate Walter E. Johnson, and given a $20,000 bond; they must next appear in a Pittsburg, Pennsylvania Federal Court.