Three Sacramento women were arrested today, accused of stealing taxpayers' identities and their tax refunds.
According to federal court documents, Nadiyah Muhammad Woods, 33; Nakia Renee Vaughn, 26; and Tomisha Lee McKinnie, 24, are charged in a conspiracy to defraud the United States through the filing of false tax returns using TurboTax, an income tax preparation software and filing service.
The women are charged with executing a mail fraud scheme to obtain Green Dot debit cards, a service offered through the TurboTax software, loaded with the tax return money of taxpayer victims.
In addition to the conspiracy, Woods is charged with 15 counts of filing false tax returns, 20 counts of mail fraud and eight counts of aggravated identity theft. Vaughn is charged with five counts of filing false tax returns, 15 counts of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
The alleged fraudulent tax return claims filed by the three women amount to more than $1,366,427, with an actual paid IRS loss of approximately $962,079. The scheme involved more than 280 false tax returns and numerous victim taxpayers, officials said.
Woods and Vaughn made initial appearances today on the complaint before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd. Both were on probation for unrelated state crimes during the period of the alleged conspiracy and mail fraud scheme. Vaughn was denied bail and remanded into federal custody. Because Woods also was wanted on a California warrant for unrelated state charges, she was released to state custody pending further federal court bail proceedings.
McKinnie was arrested late this afternoon and will make her initial appearance in court Tuesday.
The case is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, the Department of Treasury, Office of the Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the United States Postal Inspection Service, in cooperation with the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office.