Woman pleads guilty in tax fraud case

 

An Augusta woman admitted Tuesday that she participated in a criminal conspiracy to cash IRS tax returns checks gained through fraud and theft.

Shonta Merriweather, 40, was indicted on federal charges along with Jesse J. Flournoy III, 36, for allegedly stealing about $123,000 from the government.

Flournoy has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A July 23 trial date is set for him.

Merriweather pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy.

FBI Special Agent Paul Kubala testified that he worked with agents with the Secret Service and IRS when a Grovetown check-cashing business called after cashing a series of checks from Merriweather.

From September 2011 through January 2012, Flournoy used stolen personal identity information to create fraudulent tax returns and stole other people’s legitimate tax-refund checks, Kubala testified.

The conspiracy involved creating fraudulent power-of-attorney documents and having the documents notarized to make it appear that Merriweather had legal authority to cash the checks made payable to other people, Kubala testified.

2 plead not guilty in tax fraud case

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