Last member of 15-person tax fraud ring sentenced

The final member of what prosecutors described as a 15-person tax fraud ring was sentenced to two years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

DeKalb Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie also sentenced David H. Pitts of Newborn to an additional eight years of probation, and ordered him to pay $10,070 in restitution.

Lauren Kane, spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, said Pitts and 14 co-conspirators stole approximately $200,000 from the state through illegal tax refunds.

Kane said that while Pitts’ daughter and co-defendant, Naterica Burkes, was employed by the state Department of Revenue, she “perpetrated a scheme to steal money from the state by creating fraudulent accounts in DOR’s computer system and issuing tax refund checks to herself, former colleagues, family members, friends and associates.”

Pitts received three fraudulent checks totaling $20,140, which he deposited into his bank account and then split with his daughter, the ringleader of the scheme, Kane said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

Pitts’ co-defendants have already entered guilty pleas and received sentences ranging from probation to five years in prison.