On Oct. 16, 2012, Vernon Harrison, of Montgomery, Ala., was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to file false claims, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and embezzlement from the mail, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General (OIG), announced today after the indictment was unsealed.
According to the indictment, Harrison was a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier who was part of a stolen identity refund fraud conspiracy. Members of the conspiracy filed false tax returns using stolen identities from various locations including the Northern District of Alabama. The fraudulent tax refunds were directed to debit cards that were mailed to addresses on Harrison’s postal route in Montgomery, Ala. Harrison retrieved the debit cards from the mail and, for a fee, provided them to a co-conspirator.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Harrison faces up to 10 years in prison for the conspiracy count, 20 years for each mail fraud count, 5 years for each mail embezzlement count and a mandatory 2-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft counts. He is also subject to fines, forfeiture, and mandatory restitution if convicted.
The case was investigated by special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Service, OIG. Tax Division Trial Attorneys Jason Poole and Michael Boteler are prosecuting the case with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama and, in particular, Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown.