Lynell Hughes, 35, of St. Croix, plead guilty Friday in District Court to conspiracy to defraud the United States, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced.
She was the second defendant to plead guilty in the case. Indica Greenidge was sentenced last week to 12 months after pleading guilty to her part in the scheme. (See Related Links, below.)
According to the plea agreement filed with in Hughes’s case, from January 2011 to July 2012, Hughes and others participated in a scheme to steal money from the United States Treasury by fraudulently obtaining federal income tax refunds. The scheme involved the acquisition of personal identifying information used to electronically file falsified tax returns for tax years 2010 and 2011.
Hughes and her co-conspirators filed tax returns in individuals’ true names and actual Social Security numbers and dates of birth but falsified the individuals’ income earned, tax withholding amounts, credits, and other information, and thereby claimed refunds to which they were not entitled. Hughes and her co-conspirators designated bank accounts for receipt of the refunds, which, once received, they then withdrew and spent for personal use. As a result of the scheme, $122,736 was designated to Hughes’ bank account, of which $62,011 was actually deposited therein.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 19. Hughes faces a maximum sentence of ten years and a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Meredith J. Edwards and Alphonso Andrews, Jr.