While Indian-American Narendra Kumar Patel was sentenced to 24 months in prison, the two other co-conspirators Mary Bennett and Eugenia Burks have been sentenced to 75 and 18 months respectively.
Bennett had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as aggravated identity theft, while Burks also had pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
Patel pleaded guilty to forging state securities. According to court documents, the defendants were part of a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain both federal income tax refunds as well as state income tax refunds from several different states by using stolen identities to file false tax returns.
Fraudulently obtained refund checks were mailed to various addresses used by the conspiracy, while other refunds were obtained through direct deposits into numerous bank accounts controlled by the conspiracy, prosecutors alleged.
Bennett admitted to being the one responsible for actually filing the false tax returns and also to storing stolen identity information at her home.
Some of the checks obtained by the scheme were cashed by Patel, the former owner of a check-cashing business, who admitted that he knowingly cashed the forged checks and shared in the proceeds.