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5th St. Croix Woman Pleads Guilty in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme: USAO

CHRISTIANSTED — A fifth woman has admitted to her role in a scheme to file false tax returns, costing Virgin Islanders hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost tax refunds, authorities said.

Thema Liverpool, 31, of St. Croix, pled guilty today to conspiracy to defraud the United States, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to the plea agreement filed with the court, from January 2011 to July 2012, Liverpool 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 used to electronically file falsified tax returns for tax years 2010 and 2011.

According to court documents, Liverpool and nine co-conspirators filed tax returns using individuals’ true names, actual social security numbers and dates of birth but falsified information regarding the individuals’ income earned, tax withholding amounts, credits, and other information.

The scheme allowed Liverpool and others to claim tax refunds to which they were not entitled.

Liverpool and her co-conspirators designated bank accounts for receipt of the refunds, which, once received, they withdrew and spent for personal use.

As a result of the scheme, $128,040 was designated to Hughes’ bank account, of which $66,578 was actually deposited therein.

Of the 10 charged in the tax fraud scheme, Liverpool is the fifth to plead guilty.

Four others have entered guilty pleas one of whom has been sentenced. No sentencing date has been set for Liverpool.

The remaining five people are scheduled for trial in 2020.

Liverpool faces a maximum sentence of ten years and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alphonso Andrews, Jr. and Melissa Ortiz.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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