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Ten indicted for alleged criminal tax violations

Atlanta residents may have heard of the term "indictment," but may not be aware of what it means. An indictment is issued by a grand jury after the prosecutor presents evidence and various forms of testimony to them. Once a grand jury decides to bring charges against a potential defendant, the trial usually takes place faster as the prosecutor does not have to convince a judge they have enough evidence to carry on. The process usually goes swifter than those cases without an indictment.

Ten people have been included in an indictment issued recently in connection with an alleged identity theft scheme that has spanned three years. According to the indictment, the accused were part of the alleged ring that illegally received more than $20 million by filing more than 7,000 fraudulent returns. They allegedly obtained stolen identities from the various places they were employed at, and directed anticipated tax refunds to prepaid debit cards, which they cashed at various businesses across different cities, including Georgia.

According to the indictment, the group is charged with conspiracy, access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and mail fraud. Each one of these is a serious charge that carries severe penalties. If convicted, each person faces up to 10 years maximum for conspiracy, 20 maximum for each count of wire and mail fraud and two years for each count of aggravated identity theft, in addition to 15 years for each count of access device fraud.

Atlanta residents facing fraud or federal charges, especially those who have been indicted, should work quickly on preparing their defense. They might want to consider consulting an experienced defense attorney who can guide them through the federal justice system and help them fight the charges aggressively.

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "10 accused of $20 million in identity theft fraud," David Gibson, May 22, 2014

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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