A former debt collector was found guilty last week of three counts of aggravated identity theft, three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiring to defraud the United States by filing fraudulent federal income tax returns, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Deatrice Williams worked for a Norcross, Ga.-based agency and had access to names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of people who owed medical debts. She accessed files and wrote down personal information, then provided it to Quentin Collick, her son-in-law, according to court filings.
Collick also was found guilty of three counts of aggravated identity theft, three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiring to defraud the U.S. by filing fraudulent federal income tax returns. Collick further was convicted of three counts of theft of public money.
Collick and a co-conspirator, Corey Thompson, also filed false tax returns. In 2011 and 2012, Thompson worked as an independent contractor for a cable company where he installed cable and internet for customers.
Thompson used his laptop and other equipment to essentially shut down and hijack his customers internet service. Thompson and Collick then filed false tax returns using the customers hijacked internet address, which made it appear as if the false tax returns were being filed by the customer. Thompson and Collick directed the tax refunds to be placed on pre-paid debit cards. The pre-paid debit cards were intercepted by the U.S. Postal Service.
Thompson previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in jail.
Collick and Williams currently await sentencing. Collick faces a maximum prison term of 106 years, and Williams faces a maximum prison term of 76 years.
The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and prosecuted by Tax Division Trial Attorneys Michael Boteler, Jason H. Poole and Alexander Effendi.