CHICAGO (CBS) — A husband and wife have been sentenced to federal prison for stealing the identities of at least 10 people and using the information to fraudently seek more than $1.3 million in tax refunds.
Tillman Liggins III, 50, of Joliet, was sentenced Tuesday to five years and four months in prison. His wife, Chinta Williams-Liggins, 39, of Joliet, was sentenced in July to three and a half years in prison. The couple was also ordered to pay $331,154 in restitution to the IRS.
U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman imposed the sentences in federal court in Chicago.
“Without the compliance of taxpayers with our country’s tax laws, the federal government would essentially cease to function,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kalia Coleman argued in the government’s sentencing memorandums.
“The honest taxpayers must shoulder a disproportionate amount of the tax burden, and fewer necessary government services and benefits can be provided when some people cheat the IRS out of substantial sums of money.”
Liggins III and Williams-Liggins each pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
The couple admitted in plea agreements that they obtained personal identifying information, including names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth, of at least 10 individuals without their knowledge or consent.
They used that information to prepare and file false and fraudulent individual federal income tax returns from 2011-2014.
The couple filed at least 219 false and fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds of $1,323,793. As a result of the scheme, the IRS deposited approximately $331,154 in fraudulent refunds into bank accounts controlled by the couple and others.