On Monday, it was announced that a federal jury had returned a guilty verdict against a United States postal worker, who was accused of being involved in a stolen identity refund fraud conspiracy. The guilty verdict was announced by Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and U.S. Attorney G. F. Peterman III.
Evidence presented during the trial showed that 52-year-old Harold Coley worked as a mail carrier with the United States Postal Service. He was primarily responsible for a postal route in Columbus, Georgia. In 2012, Coley was recruited by Keshia Lanier to become involved in a stolen identity tax refund scheme. While performing his daily duties, Coley collected addresses along his route. Many of the addresses did not exist or related to vacant buildings.
Coley gave this information to Lanier and others, who had the intention of filing fraudulent tax returns with the IRS. Lanier had also worked with Tamika Floyd, who was employed with the Alabama Department of Public Health, to obtain stolen identities. They focused primarily on stealing identities belonging to 16 and 17-year-old victims.
When submitting the refunds, Lanier and others instructed the IRS to mail the refund checks to addresses that were provided by Coley. Coley was given cash to intercept the refund checks and deliver them to Lanier and others. Over the course of the scheme, Coley’s co-conspirators directed more than 1,600 refund checks to Coley. They totaled to more than $2.5 million. Lanier was previously sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Floyd was sentenced to more than seven years. Harold Coley is scheduled to be sentenced on December the 19th of this year. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for the conspiracy count, 20 years for each mail fraud count, and 5 years for each count of embezzlement of the mail. He will also likely face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.