Phenix City man steals the identities of deployed soldiers, teenagers, prison inmates in tax refund fraud scheme

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Phenix City man was convicted of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and identity theft after running a large-scale identity theft ring that included state and federal employees.

William Anthony Gosha III, also known as Boo Boo, was the head of the group who filed over 8,800 fraudulent tax returns and received $9 million in fraudulent refunds, according to a release issued by the Department of Justice.

Between November of 2010 and December of 2013, Gosha conspired with Tracy Mitchell, Keshia Lanier, and Tamika Floyd in stealing IDs to file fraudulent tax returns. These identities included prison inmates, teenagers, and soldiers deployed to Afghanistan.

In November of 2010, Gosha provided the stolen IDs of inmates to Lanier who filed the tax returns. In 2012, Lanier needed additional sources for IDs so he approached Floyd who worked at the Department of Public Health and the Department of Human Resources in Opelika. Floyd provided Lanier with the information of thousands of teenagers.

Gosha later recruited Mitchell who worked at a hospital at Fort Benning, Georgia where she had access to the IDs of military personnel. Mitchell used their personal information to file tax returns.

The group of conspirators later recruited U.S. Postal employees. The group had the refund checks mailed to addresses provided by the Postal service workers, who would gather and deliver them to Gosha and others in exchange for money.

Gosha was also a part of a separate stolen identity scheme where he sold the IDs of prison inmates to Pamela Smith and others.

Gosha was convicted on one count of conspiracy, 3 counts of wire fraud, 22 counts of mail fraud, and 25 counts of aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for the conspiracy charge, 20 years for each count of wire and mail fraud, and 2 years for aggravated identity theft.

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