This week, it was announced that a Phenix City, Alabama man had been convicted in two stolen identity refund fraud schemes. The defendant, William Anthony Gosha III who is also known as Boo Boo, was convicted of 22 counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, 25 counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of conspiracy.
Evidence presented during the trial shows that Gosha ran a large-scale identity theft ring from November 2010 and December 2013. He worked with several co-conspirators, including Tamika Floyd, Keshia Lanier, and Tracy Mitchell. All have since been convicted and sent to prison. The group filed more than 8,800 tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. In total, they sought more than $22 million. The IRS paid out approximately $9 million.
In November of 2010, Gosha stole the IDs of inmates from the Alabama Department of Corrections and gave the information to Lanier to use to seek fraudulent tax refunds. The pair agreed to split the proceeds. Gosha also stole employee records from a company that was previously located in Columbus, Georgia. In 2012, Lanier went on the hunt for more stolen identities. He approached Floyd, who worked with the Department of Public Health and the Department of Human Resources.
Floyd was able to provide Lanier with personal identifying information for many individuals, including teenagers. Lanier requested information belonging to sixteen and seventeen year-olds. Floyd agreed and did as instructed. Gosha recruited Tracy Mitchell and her family to help file the fraudulent returns. Mitchell worked at a Fort Benning, Georgia hospital and this gave her access to the personal identification information for military personnel.
Mitchell stole their personal information and used it to file fraudulent returns. To apply for returns, Gosha, Lanier and their co-conspirators applied for EFIN or Electronic Filing Identification Numbers in the names of sham tax preparation businesses. Then, the EFINs were used to file the returns. They also used these numbers to acquire tax refund related bank products and blank check stock. Eventually, the financial institutions stopped their ability to print checks.
Then, they defendants teamed up with United States Postal employees to obtain addresses where the fraudulent refund checks would be delivered. For their part in the scheme, the USPS workers received cash. Between January 2010 and December 2013, Gosha engaged in yet another stolen identity refund fraud scheme with Pamela Smith and others. Smith has been convicted and sent to prison.
A date has not yet been set for Gosha’s sentencing. Additional details can be found here.