Today, a DeKalb County Grand Jury charged a former Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) employee and 14 associates with one count each of Violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(c). Together, the co-conspirators stole approximately $200,000.00 from the State of Georgia by way of illegal tax refunds.
At the time of her arrest in September 2011, Naterica Burkes was employed by Georgia DOR in DeKalb County. While so employed, the defendant perpetrated a scheme to steal money from the State of Georgia by creating fraudulent accounts in DOR’s computer system and issuing tax refund checks, to herself, former colleagues, family members, friends and associates. The defendant and her co-conspirators, i.e. the refund recipients, would deposit refund checks into personal bank accounts or cash them at local businesses and then divvy up the proceeds.
Between July 2008 and September 2011, Burkes issued 33 illegal tax refunds.
The co-conspirators are former DOR employee Kaiesha Ash, David H. Pitts, Kedrick Lacey, Nicole D. Calhoun, Leonard Harvey, Jr., Rochelle Hunter, Chandra Long, Justin C. Clark, Sochie Jordan, Nykea Williams, Lloyd Burkes, Kenneth Sheriff, Olivetti Key and Tomichi A. Lee.
Racketeering carries a minimum of five and a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine up to three times the amount of money stolen.
Assistant Attorney General Shepard Orlow is prosecuting the case on behalf of the State of Georgia. The case was investigated by Special Agent Alan Dickinson of DOR and Special Agent Jonathan Spurlock of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Members of the public should keep in mind that indictments contain only allegations against the individual(s) against whom the indictment is sought. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and it will be the government’s burden at trial to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the allegations contained in the indictment.