Three Apache Junction Residents Sentenced For False Tax Refund Scheme

PHOENIX – On September 18, 2017, Judith Ann Eastman was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Douglas L. Rayes to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $86,276.00 to the Internal Revenue Service. On August 7, 2017, Douglas Joseph Charron was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $439,559.00. On September 11, 2017, Beverly LaShea Lock was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $411,534.00.

All three defendants previously pleaded guilty to filing false claims for refund. In addition, defendants Charron and Lock pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft.

According to their plea agreements, the co-defendants began promoting and submitting false tax returns with the IRS in the names of third party individuals claiming false and fraudulent tax refunds. They promoted their scheme as an economic stimulus program in order to recruit participants and obtain individuals’ names, dates of birth, and social security numbers.

Once the defendants obtained this personal identification information, they prepared or caused others to prepare false and fraudulent individual income tax returns in the names of these individuals with false wages, expenses, and credits in amounts designed to generate a tax refund.

“Identity theft is a serious crime. IRS-CI is committed to delivering justice to those whose personal information is stolen and used to commit tax fraud,” stated IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Ismael Nevarez Jr.

This investigation was conducted by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation with assistance by the Apache Junction Police Department.