IRS Get Transcript Scam Duo Get Jail Time

A Georgia couple have been handed down a combined sentence of over eight years behind bars for their part in a sophisticated IRS scam involving the Get Transcript tool.

Anthony Alika, 42, will serve 80 months in jail followed by three years of supervised release, and Sonia Alika, 27, will spend 21 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after defrauding the tax service of over $1 million.

They’ll also have to pay $1,963,251 and $245,790 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), respectively, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).

An indictment from January accused Alikas and another woman – Rapheal Atebefia, 33, of Austell – of being part of a wider conspiracy which used the real names and Social Security numbers of taxpayers to access the Get Transcript database to glean more information about their victims.

They then registered prepaid debit cards in various states in the names of their victims, filled out false tax returns, and then requested the resulting IRS tax refunds to be deposited on these cards, the DoJ claimed.

The three are also accused of “structuring” cash withdrawals from their bank accounts in a way that circumvented the Currency Transaction Reports (CTR) that banks usually have to file.

Anthony Alika admitted laundering over $1.5 million while Sonia Alika confessed to withdrawing over $250,000 from various accounts.

Last month, Atebefia was sentenced to 15 months in jail for her part in the scam, followed by three years of supervised release.

“This fraud conspiracy featured a literal highlight reel of our current economic crime threats, including cyber intrusions, identity theft, phony tax returns and money laundering, all to the order of millions of dollars,” said US attorney John Horn, in a statement. 

“These schemes create nightmares for citizens who endure the process of repairing their credit and IRS returns, and this case reflects law enforcement’s commitment to punish these criminals and do all we can to prevent further victims.”

Defrauding the IRS has become a popular tactic over the past few years, driven by the ready availability of taxpayers' personally identifiable information on the dark web.

In February the tax service revealed it had been the victim of a malware attack using an automated botnet in an attempt to generate E-file PINs for about 464,000 unique stolen social security numbers. These PINs are typically used to electronically file tax returns.

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