Tax preparer sentenced to 81 months in prison for filing more than 600 of false tax returns

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Federal officials say a Baton Rouge woman has been sentenced to 81 months for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Ashley Ricks-Stampley was also sentenced to three years supervised release following her release from prison, and ordered to pay $699,734.89 in restitution to the IRS. She is also ordered to pay $11,138 to the Louisiana Department of Revenue.

Ricks-Stampley pleaded guilty last year and admitted that she schemed to defraud the IRS by submitting hundreds of false tax returns in the names of other individuals. Federal officials say from September 2011 through July 2012, she filed more than 600 false federal and state tax returns falsely claiming refunds totaling approximately $748,310.

In September 2013, five women in the Baton Rouge area were accused of tax schemes in which more than 1,000 fake federal tax returns were filed for refunds of more than $1.4 million. Ashley Ricks-Stampley was one of the five. Holly Green, Mona Hill, Kimberly Scott and Shywanda Underwood were the other women charged.

Green is charged with making false claims and identity theft. Officials said between January 2012 and April 2012, Green filed 71 fake tax returns for $123,155 in refunds. If convicted of both counts, she faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. She also faces forfeiture of the alleged ill-gotten gains.

Hill is charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to the bill of information, Hill submitted 488 false tax returns from January 2012 through July 2012 for refunds totaling $661,258. If convicted of wire fraud, she faces up to 20 years in prison. She faces a mandatory two years if convicted of aggravated identity theft. She also faces fines up to $500,000 and forfeiture of the proceeds.

Scott is charged with theft of public funds. She is accused of working with another person to steal identification information. The other suspect's name was not given. Officials said she let the other person use her bank account to collect the fake refunds from the fake tax returns. Documents state Scott filed 74 tax returns and $96,497 was deposited into her account. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and forfeiture of the money deposited into the account.

The US Attorney's Office reported Underwood was indicted by a federal grand jury September 11, 2013 on four counts of making false claims for tax refunds and four counts of identity theft. Records show she owned and operated a tax preparation business in Baker. She is suspected of using W-2 forms for fake businesses to prepare and submit false tax returns, claiming tax credits and refunds not entitled to the taxpayers. The indictment stated she claimed $20,241 in fraudulent tax returns.

If convicted on all eight counts, Underwood faces up to 40 years in prison and $2 million in fines. She would also have to give up the money she received. The IRS and US Secret Service are investigating her case.

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