Saturday, December 03, 2016

Houston Couple Pleads Guilty In Scheme To Obtain Tax Refunds

ASSOCIATED PRESS



HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston couple has pleaded guilty to stealing the identities of 50,000 victims in order to apply for fraudulent tax refunds.

Tom Emasealu and his girlfriend, Krystal Prophet, entered their guilty pleas Thursday following a four-day trial in Houston federal court.

Emasealu, from Nigeria, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, possession of at least 15 unauthorized access devices, access device fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Prophet, from Houston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, access device fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors say the couple from January 2014 through May 2015 used the stolen identities to apply for $1.9 million in fraudulent tax refunds. Investigators say the couple managed to get $250,000 in refunds.

Emasealu and Prophet each face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on March 6.

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