5 metro women indicted in tax fraud case

Five people have been indicted on charges they filed false tax returns and collected thousands of dollars in state refunds, the state Attorney General’s Office said Thursday.

A Fulton County grand jury returned the indictments against Kimberly Banks of Atlanta (also known as Kimberly Conley), Monique Bussey of Atlanta, Melissa Helm of Jonesboro, Brittany Banks of Atlanta and Shaneka Richards of Atlanta on Tuesday. They are accused of racketeering and theft by taking.

Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Law, said the women stole the personal information of non-Georgians to file the fraudulent returns. They allegedly were able to obtain refunds of nearly $25,000 between Sept. 29, 2009 and Jan. 26. 2011.

According to the indictment, the state Department of Revenue received tax returns that had been filed in the names of person who did not prepare or file the returns. The returns also allegedly had forged signatures.

The state checks were mailed to the suspects’ addresses and then deposited into one bank account. The indictment said checks were mailed to Richards and Brittany Banks and at a College Park address; to Kimberly Banks at an Atlanta address; to Helm at two Jonesboro addresses that were next door to each other; and checks were sent to a Lithonia address.

Bussey allegedly endorsed all of the checks and deposited them into her bank account. Proceeds were then shared with others in the scheme, according to the indictment.

The check amounts among the 46 listed in the indictment ranged from $914 to $50.

Bussey remained in custody Thursday at the Fulton County Jail, held on $10,000 bond. Richards was arrested March 3 2011 on a racketeering charge and released on March 6, 2011 on $25,000 bond. Brittany Banks was also arrested March 3, 2011 on a racketeering charge and released March 5, 2011 on $25,000 bond. There was no immediate arrest information on either Helm or Kimberly Banks.

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