Five East Bay residents were indicted this week by a federal grand jury in Oakland on charges stemming from a scheme to obtain payment of more than $6.2 million in false claims for refunds from the Internal Revenue Service, according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.Ayani Davis, Niyah Edwards, Latrece O’Neal, Samuel Warren and Reshana Nolen are each charged with conspiracy to file false claims, Haag said. O’Neal is also charged with obstructing the IRS, and Nolen is charged with filing a false claim.O’Neal and Davis are currently in custody. O’Neal was arrested in Antioch and appeared in federal court today. Davis was arrested in Pittsburg and is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 5.Edwards was arrested in Sacramento but was released and ordered to appear in court on Oct. 4. Nolen hasn’t been apprehended. According to one of the indictments in the case, Davis, Edwards, O’Neal, Warren and others agreed to participate in a scheme to obtain or help others obtain payment of false claims for refunds from the IRS.A second indictment alleges that Nolen agreed to participate in the scheme with other people to obtain or help others obtain payment of false claims for refunds from the IRS. The indictments charge that the four defendants filed false 2007 and 2008 income tax returns using names that they illegally obtained or obtained by some type of agreement with another person.The indictments also allege that the defendants used other people’s bank accounts to receive the payments, and that O’Neal filed multiple false tax returns and asked witnesses to provide false statements to IRS criminal agents about her role in the scheme. According to Haag, the IRS’s criminal investigation unit identified 790 fraudulent income tax returns, which resulted in more than $6.2 million in fraudulent refund claims.The maximum penalty for conspiracy to file false claims is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for obstructing the IRS is three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory penalty for filing a false claim is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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