August 30, 2020

Woman sentenced to prison in tax refund, student loan scams

Woman sentenced to prison in tax refund, student loan scams

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — A Florida woman who stole identity information of more than 2,300 people has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $340,000 in restitution to the federal government for bogus income tax refunds and student financial aid that she received.

U.S. District Judge Louis Sands sentenced 35-year-old April Thornton of Lake Alfred, Florida, on Thursday in Albany, Georgia. Thornton pleaded guilty in October to possession of more than 15 unauthorized names and Social Security numbers.

Thornton was indicted in 2018 on 22 counts of identity theft charges after a sheriff’s deputy in south Georgia pulled her over and found a range of personal identity information including debit cards, Social Security numbers, financial information and medical information.

Investigators found that Thornton had filed 202 false tax returns with the IRS between 2011 and 2013, receiving $217,738 in refunds. Investigators also discovered 32 student fraud victims from the names Thornton possessed, receiving $121,238 in fraudulent student loans. Investigators say Thornton possessed the identities of 2,300 people and was trying to bring in more than $1.5 million in fraudulent proceeds.

As part of the sentence, Thornton was ordered to repay the tax refunds to the IRS and the student loan money to the U.S. Department of Education. She was also ordered.

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