A man convicted of scamming more than $19 million in phony income tax returns has been sentenced to 21 years and seven months in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.
Bernando Davis, 28, of Stockbridge, also was ordered to pay $7 million in restitution, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates’ office said.
“This lengthy prison sentence reflects the serious damage suffered by more than 15,000 victims across the country at the hands of a prolific identity thief and tax cheat,” Yates said in an emailed statement. “Mr. Davis lied to his victims to steal their personal information, which he then used to file over $19 million in phony tax returns, making this one of the largest stolen identity tax return cases prosecuted in this district.”
From approximately July 2010 to January 2013, Davis operated “Davis Tax Service,” a tax preparation business in Clayton County, according to prosecutors. Davis, working with at least two others, led thousands of victims to believe that they could apply for “government stimulus payments” or “free government money” by providing their names and Social Security numbers.
Davis and his conspirators used toll-free phone numbers, websites, fliers and radio advertisements to promote the phone stimulus payments, Yates said. The three also got names and personal information from people in prisons and homeless shelters and used the victims’ personal information to file tax returns in their names, according to evidence presented during the trial.
A mail carrier tipped off investigators after more than 1,000 U.S. Treasury checks were sent to Davis’ address, Yates said. Davis was convicted in December.
The co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty and also have been sentenced.
A Lawrenceville pastor wants his congregation to know the good news about the Gospel of Mark. Dean Sweetman, senior pastor of the C3 Church, has challenged his members and anyone else interested to read the New Testament book in its entirety over the next year and post Instagram photos of their notes.