You are here

Seven Defendants Involved in Income Tax Refund Fraud Ring Plead Guilty

PRESS ADVISORY

Seven Defendants Involved in Income Tax Refund Fraud Ring Plead Guilty

January 7, 2014

On Friday, January 3, 2014, seven defendants who participated in a fraud ring involving illegal income tax refunds pleaded guilty in DeKalb County Superior Court. The seven defendants were part of a group of 15 alleged conspirators charged with stealing approximately $200,000 from the State of Georgia.

Naterica Burkes, former Department of Revenue (DOR) employee and ringleader of the scheme, along with Lloyd Burkes, Nicole Calhoun, Justin Clark, Leonard Harvey and Chandra Long pleaded guilty to one count of Racketeering (O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(c)). Nykea Williams entered a guilty plea to one count of Theft by Taking (O.C.G.A. § 16-8-2).

As a DOR employee, Naterica Burkes perpetrated a scheme to steal money from the State by creating fraudulent accounts in DOR’s computer system and issuing tax refund checks, to herself, former colleagues, family members, friends and associates. Naterica Burkes 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, Naterica Burkes issued 33 illegal tax refunds.

Judge Tangela Barrie handed down the following sentences:

  • Naterica Burkes was sentenced under the First Offender Act to five years imprisonment (first year on house arrest), 15 years probation and restitution in the amount of $40,000.
  • Lloyd Burkes was sentenced under the First Offender Act to one year imprisonment, four years probation and restitution in the amount of $10,000.
  • Justin Clark was sentenced under the First Offender Act to one year imprisonment on work release, nine years probation and restitution in the amount of $9,225.
  • Leonard Harvey was sentenced to one year imprisonment on work release, 4 years probation and restitution in the amount of $3,403.
  • Chandra Long was sentenced under the First Offender Act to one year imprisonment on work release, 9 years probation and restitution in the amount of $6,100.25.
  • Nykea Williams was sentenced to one year imprisonment, nine years probation and restitution in the amount of $1,474.50.
  • Nicole Calhoun will be sentenced on January 29, 2013.

Defendants Tomichi Lee, Rochelle Hunter, Sochie Jordan and Kedrick Lacey pleaded guilty in DeKalb County Superior on February 4, 2013. Kenneth Sheriff entered a plea of guilty on March 8, 2013.  Charges are still pending against Kaiesha Ash, David H. Pitts, and Olivetti Key.

Assistant Attorney General Greg Lohmeier and former Assistant Attorney General Shepard Orlow prosecuted 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.