Woman gets 7 years in tax return scams

A Baton Rouge woman who filed more than 600 false federal and state tax returns was sentenced Wednesday to nearly seven years in federal prison and ordered to pay $700,000-plus in restitution.

U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick ordered Ashley D. Ricks-Stampley to spend 81 months in prison. She pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Dick also said Ricks-Stampley must pay $699,734 to the Internal Revenue Service and $11,138 to the Louisiana Department of Revenue.

“This sentence should send a clear message that the Louisiana Department of Revenue, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will investigate and prosecute tax fraud and identity theft to the fullest extent of the law,” U.S. Attorney Walt Green said in a prepared statement.

“During our annual tax filing season, this sentence should serve as a deterrent to others contemplating such criminal acts,” he added.

Ricks-Stampley admitted last year that she accomplished her scheme by fraudulently obtaining the names and personal identifying information, including Social Security numbers, of persons without their knowledge or consent. Using the information, she submitted false income tax returns to the IRS and the state Department of Revenue electronically via an Internet tax program.

From September 2011 through July 2012, Ricks-Stampley filed 563 false federal returns claiming refunds totaling $733,685 and 56 false state returns claiming refunds totaling $14,625. She actually received more than $700,000, Green said.