An Alabama woman has been charged with filing more than 3,000 tax returns over a two-year period claiming over $7.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

Talashia Hinton, aka LayLay and LaLa, of Phenix City, Ala., was arrested Tuesday after she was indicted on April 28 by a federal grand jury sitting in the Middle District of Alabama on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The indictment charges Hinton with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, five counts of wire fraud and five counts of aggravated identity theft.

Hinton participated in a large-scale stolen identity tax refund scheme in which more than 3,000 false tax returns for 2012 and 2013 were filed that claimed more than $7.5 million in fraudulent federal income tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service. Hinton worked with others who supplied her with IRS electronic filing identification numbers and stolen identities that included personal information so that Hinton could prepare and file false tax returns to claim refunds using those stolen names. Hinton directed the IRS to pay the refunds by issuing U.S. Treasury checks and direct deposits onto prepaid debit cards.   

If convicted, Hinton faces up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, up to five years in prison for the conspiracy count and up to two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. Hinton also faces monetary penalties, including fines, forfeiture and restitution.

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