A couple pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to stealing the identities of customers of an Opelousas tax preparation business to pocket their income tax returns, officials said.
Francis Owens, a 36-year-old employee at Dee’s Tax Service, and her boyfriend, Kevin White, 33, both from Washington, pleaded guilty to one count each of identity theft, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said.
Owens worked as a tax preparer who crafted false 2012 returns for at least two people who did not know of her efforts, Finley said. Owens had the IRS send the checks to the business, not the victims’ homes.
White took over the scheme from there, forging the victims’ signatures and obtaining false identification cards to cash the checks, Finley said.
The defendants, who together stole more than $10,000, face up to 15 years in federal prison, three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Finley did not say if U.S. District Judge Richard Haik set a sentencing date. The IRS investigated the case that was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph.