Pelham man to plead guilty to involvement in $1 million tax fraud scheme

Published 4:02 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2016


BIRMINGHAM – Pelham man Lashon Roberson, 36, is scheduled to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud affecting a financial institution and four counts of mail fraud affecting a financial institution Feb. 10, according to a Feb. 9 release from the Internal Revenue Service. 1-6 IRS tax fraud

The release stated that Roberson was arrested in connection to a stolen identity tax-refund scheme with up to $1.5 million in false claims.

He was allegedly a co-conspirator arrested in conjunction with the arrests of Nakeisha Hall, Jimmie Goodman and Abdulla Coleman for their alleged involvement in the scheme, which was operated out of Birmingham from 2008 to 2011.

The scheme involved stealing personal identity information from the Internal Revenue Service to create fraudulent tax returns and collect the stolen refunds, according to U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance with IRS Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Karl A. Stiften and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Ruben Florez.

Thirty-nine-year-old Hall, whose job was to assist taxpayers experiencing problems resulting from identity theft, pleaded guilty Monday, Feb. 8 in federal court, according to the release.

She entered her guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre to theft of government funds, aggravated identity theft, unauthorized access to a protected computer and conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud affecting a financial institution.

According to the release, Hall acknowledged in her plea that the tax fraud conspiracy had an intended loss to the IRS of between $550,000 and $1.5 million. She agreed to restitution and forfeiture of $438,187, representing funds actually paid out by IRS as a result of the scheme. Hall’s sentencing is scheduled for June 29.

“Hall used her IRS access to compromise taxpayers’ identities and try to steal more than $1 million dollars from the U.S. Treasury,” Vance said. “Taxpayers must be able to trust that IRS employees will protect their sensitive information, not steal it and corrupt it for personal gain. I thank the TIGTA and IRS-CI investigators who helped my office ensure that this crime was prosecuted and punished.”

Goodman is scheduled for trial Feb. 29, and Coleman is to be arraigned on the charges against him on Thursday, Feb. 11 after being arrested in Madison, Wis., and transferred to the Northern District of Alabama.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum prison penalty for theft of government funds is 10 years in prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed in the case, and unauthorized access to a protected computer carries a maximum five-year prison term. All three charges carry a maximum $250,000 penalty.