ST. CROIX — United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert has announced that Nicolette Alexander, age 29, from the Virgin Islands pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to conspiracy to defraud the United States.
According to court documents, from January 2011 to July 2012, Nicolette Alexander and others participated in a scheme to steal money from the United States treasury by fraudulently obtaining federal income tax refunds. The scheme involved the acquisition of personal identifying information of individuals (i.e. name, social security number, and date of birth) used to electronically file falsified tax returns with a designation of refunds to the acquired bank accounts or debit cards. Defendant and her co-conspirators withdrew the deposited refunds. They subsequently spent the funds using a debit card or transferred the funds to other accounts, all for personal use. As a result of the scheme, approximately $17,537 of falsely-claimed returns were deposited into Alexander’s bank account.
Of ten defendants charged in the tax fraud scheme, Alexander is the ninth to plead guilty. Eight others have entered guilty pleas, four of whom have been sentenced in federal court by District Court Chief Judge Wilma Lewis. The remaining defendant is scheduled for trial on June 7, 2021. A sentencing date for Alexander is to be scheduled, and she faces a maximum sentence of ten years, up to a $250,000.00 fine, and the payment of restitution.
The prosecution of this fraud scheme is the result of years of investigative work by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, which identified and dismantled a massive stolen identity refund fraud scheme perpetrated in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Ortiz.
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