Man pleads guilty to tax fraud in stolen ID case - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Man pleads guilty to tax fraud in stolen ID case

The federal courthouse in Albany, GA. The federal courthouse in Albany, GA.
Earnest Williams was 17 at the time of his arrest. Earnest Williams was 17 at the time of his arrest.
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A student accused of identity theft entered a guilty plea in federal court on Wednesday.

Bryant T. Johnson, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, prosecutors said Johnson filed dozens of false tax returns using stolen personal information from 65 students in the Dougherty County School System.

Johnson faces 20 years maximum imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, or both for wire fraud.

For aggravated identity theft, he faces a mandatory minimum of two years imprisonment consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed, a fine of $250,000, or both.

Johnson will be sentenced on September 10, 2015.

The stolen data included date of birth and Social Security numbers of students were recovered from a student's backpack. That student, Earnest Williams, admitted that he had talked about using the stolen cards with Johnson.

In 2012, the principal at Monroe Comprehensive High School told police that Williams had copied 76 students names with their social security numbers, addresses, dates of birth, parents names, and telephone numbers on three sheets of tablet paper.

Johnson was linked to 62 online federal income tax returns which claimed a total of $419,028. Johnson actually received a total of $76,631.

The police also seized numerous pre-paid debit cards in the name of third parties that were funded with fraudulent income tax refunds.

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