3 from Elmore County sentenced in tax fraud scheme


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Department of Justice officials say three people have been sentenced for their roles in a tax refund scheme.

Authorities say Mary Bennett was sentenced Thursday to 75 months in prison. Co-conspirator, Narendrakumar Patel was sentenced to 24 months and Eugenia Banks was sentenced to 18 months. Authorities say Bennett pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Burks pleaded guilty to conspiracy and Patel pleaded guilty to forging state securities.

Authorities say the Elmore County trio stole identities to file fraudulent state and federal tax returns. Authorities say they collected returns through fraudulent addresses and direct deposits.

Officials say Bennett acknowledged filing false returns and storing stolen identity information at her home. Authorities say Patel, former owner of a check-cashing business, knowingly cashed fraudulent checks.

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