OAKLAND — Prosecutors this week charged three East Bay residents with multiple counts of tax theft and conspiracy along with other felony charges in connection with a tax-fraud scheme, a prosecutor announced Thursday.

Jessika Green, of Oakley, Khyber Law, of Antioch, and Starkisha Benson, of Berkeley, were charged in a 22-count indictment on Tuesday in federal court in Oakland, United States Attorney Melinda Haag said.

They are accused of wire fraud, conspiracy to file false claims, filing false claims, effecting fraudulent transactions with an access device, theft of public money and aggravated identity theft, Haag said.

According to the indictment, Green, Law and Benson filed or helped others file false claims with the IRS requesting refunds in the names of other people. As part of the scheme, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly procured the names and identities of individuals through illegal means or by agreement with participants in the scheme. The filed returns falsely claimed wages and withholdings, Haag said.

The defendants also requested that the IRS transmit the fraudulent refunds into accounts linked to debit cards, Haag said. The debit cards were used to access the proceeds derived from the conspiracy.

The charges carry potential penalties of between two and twenty-five years in prison and maximum fines of $250,000 each.


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Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.