Woman who filed 563 false tax returns wants sentence vacated

A Baton Rouge woman who admitted filing hundreds of false income tax returns is asking the federal judge who sent her to prison for nearly seven years to vacate the sentence and put her on home confinement.

Ashley D. Ricks-Stampley, who is serving her time at a federal prison in Bryan, Texas, contends the 81-month prison term U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick dealt her in March amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

“I’m not a threat to the safety of the public,” Ricks-Stampley, 28, claims in court papers filed Friday. “Nonviolent crime. No other criminal history.”

She pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Ricks-Stampley filed 563 false federal returns claiming refunds totaling $733,685 and 56 false state returns claiming refunds totaling $14,625, U.S. Attorney Walt Green has said. She actually received more than $700,000, he said.

Her plea agreement states that Ricks-Stampley fraudulently obtained 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 electronically via an Internet tax program.

“The applications falsely represented that the individuals had worked for various companies during 2010 and 2011 and were eligible for income tax refunds,” the plea agreement states. “In fact, these individuals had not worked for or earned wages from the companies reflected in the fraudulent tax returns, nor had the victims authorized the defendant to submit any such returns on their behalf.”

Dick also ordered Ricks-Stampley to pay nearly $700,000 to the Internal Revenue Service and more than $11,000 to the Louisiana Department of Revenue.

Ricks-Stampley argues she gave federal authorities “an abundance of information” but prosecutors did not use evidence favorable to her.

She wants to be given credit for time served and allowed to serve the remainder of her sentence under home confinement, which would allow her to make restitution payments “immediately.”

The government’s response to Ricks-Stampley’s motion to vacate her sentence is due by June 20.