Ex-postal worker sentenced in $1 million tax fraud scheme

Ex-postal worker sentenced in $1 million tax fraud scheme

A former mail carrier from Cobb County has been sentenced for his role in a $1 million fraudulent income tax refund scheme.

Adrian Bridges, 43, of Mableton, was convicted in August on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail theft. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to serve four years in federal prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $81,878, Department of Justice officials announced.

Six individuals, including Bridges, have been sentenced in connection with the scheme, which began as early as July 2012 and ran until October 2013, authorities said. Two Atlanta men, 31-year old Kenneth Campbell, also known as “Scrilla,” and 28-year-old Corey Thomas, also known as “Lil Corey,” claimed more than $400,000 in tax refunds by using the stolen identification information of hundreds of victims, along with fake wage and withholding information. After the refunds were processed, the two had the refunds applied to blank prepaid debit cards they later used for their own benefit.

The two had the prepaid cards mailed to different addresses throughout the Atlanta area, with many of them associated with an apartment complex in Cobb County, where Bridges worked as a mail carrier. Bridges’ role in the effort had him retrieving the prepaid cards from the mail, authorities said.

“Adrian Bridges reflects just a very small percentage of employees who failed to uphold the trust and integrity placed in them,” said Paul Bowman, Area Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, in Tuesday’s news release.

Campbell and Thomas were convicted in August on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Last month, Campbell was sentenced to serve seven years and three months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $139,610. Thomas was sentenced to serve five years and one month in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $114,754.

Three others also were previously sentenced. Authorities said Campbell recruited 30-year-old Juarez Johnson of Atlanta, then an employee of the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk’s Office, to provide him with stolen identity information. In September 2013, Johnson accessed county databases on several occasions to obtain identity information for dozens of people who had been booked into the Fulton County Jail, later providing the information to Campbell.

Campbell also worked with other individuals to file fraudulent federal and state tax returns, including 33-year-old Justin Cody, of Atlanta, also known as “Decatur Slim.” In a related case, Cody and his wife, 26-year-old Aeshia Wilmore, were charged for their involvement in a scheme similar to Campbell’s where they claimed more than $600,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.

Johnson was convicted of identity theft in May. In July, he was sentenced to serve one year of probation.

Cody and Wilmore were convicted in November 2013 on charges of theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. In April, Cody was sentenced to serve seven years and three months in federal prison and ordered to pay $150,329 in restitution, while Wilmore was sentenced to serve two years in federal prison and ordered to pay $150,329 in restitution.

All six involved in the scheme were convicted and sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones.

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