WASHINGTON – A jury found a Dothan, Alabama woman guilty of conspiring to defraud the government through the filing of false tax returns, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ronald A. Cimino of the Justice Department's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama announced today.
32-year-old Nina Macena, was also found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to evidence from the trial, Macena provided stolen identities to Ivory Bolen, also of Dothan, who used the identities to file false tax returns that fraudulently requested refunds from the government. Bolen would attempt to have the refunds deposited onto prepaid debit cards, which would be mailed to addresses controlled by Bolen and Macena. Macena obtained the identities from Roderick Neal, a former bail bondsman in Dothan, who had access to the personal information of individuals who had been detained at the Dothan City Jail. Both Bolen and Neal previously pleaded guilty to their involvement in the scheme.
The evidence from the trial also showed that Bolen, acting at the direction of law enforcement, made several phone calls to Macena asking her to obtain more identities. Macena agreed to do so and said she would attempt to get more identities from a “friend” at “the bonding company.” Macena also stated in the calls that she had stolen identities in a storage unit. The next day federal agents executed a search warrant at Macena’s storage unit and seized stolen identities and prepaid debit cards in the names of victims of the scheme. Altogether, Bolen filed tax returns claiming more than $300,000 in refunds using the stolen identities provided by Macena. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), however, successfully stopped a number of the fraudulent returns.
Macena testified in her own defense at trial and admitted that she had obtained information from Neal for Bolen, but claimed that she was unaware of the nature of the information. She also testified that she stored items for Bolen in her storage unit, but that she was unaware of what she was storing.
Macena was ultimately convicted by the jury on all counts in the indictment. At sentencing Oct. 23, she faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy count, a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the three wire fraud convictions and a mandatory sentence of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft convictions. Her actual sentence, however, will be decided by a federal judge after considering the federal sentencing guidelines and statutory sentencing factors.
This case was investigated by special agents of the IRS - Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Jason Poole and Charles Edgar of the Tax Division prosecuted the case with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.