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United States v. Williams-Ogletree

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 12, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
LESLIE WILLIAMS-OGLETREE, Defendant-Appellant

Argued: January 22, 2014.

Page 659

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 11-CR-203 -- Amy J. St. Eve, Judge.

For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee: Kelly Greening, Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Chicago, IL.

For LESLIE WILLIAMS-OGLETREE, Defendant - Appellant: Brian D. Wolfe, Attorney, KIRKLAND & ELLIS LLP, Chicago, IL.

Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and MANION and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 660

Manion, Circuit Judge.

Leslie Williams-Ogletree was indicted in a six-count indictment related to a scheme to file false tax returns. Count one charged Williams-Ogletree with conspiracy to defraud the United States government and the remaining counts charged her with five specific incidents of presenting false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims to the United States Department of Treasury. She pleaded not guilty, but, following trial, a jury convicted her on all counts. The district court sentenced her to 51 months' imprisonment. Williams-Ogletree appeals her sentence, arguing the district court erred in calculating the loss involved and in assessing the § 3553 sentencing factors. We affirm.

I.

In 2005, Leslie Williams-Ogletree (" Ogletree" ) ran Chicago-based LKJ Tax Services, a tax preparation service. Ogletree applied for and obtained an Electronic Filers Identification Number (" EFIN" ) from the IRS, which allowed her to file tax returns electronically in other people's names and to obtain electronic refunds. In late 2005, Ogletree conspired with Robtrel White and Larryl White to submit false income tax returns to the IRS. Robtrel and Larryl would obtain and provide Ogletree with various birth dates and social security numbers for individuals unlikely to file income tax returns, and then Ogletree would file the false returns with LKJ's EFIN, using that personal information. The co-conspirators also generated false W-2 wage and tax statement data to support the false refund claims.

Between February and October 2006, Ogletree used LKJ's EFIN to file 200 fraudulent income tax returns for the tax year 2005 in the names of individuals supplied by Robtrel, Larryl, and others. These tax returns sought refunds in the amount of $834,548 and the actual tax loss to the IRS was $652,730. The proceeds from the fraudulent tax returns were obtained in the form of a tax refund anticipation loan (" RAL" ) check which Ogletree printed at LKJ's offices, pursuant to an agreement with Bank One. Robtrel then deposited many of these checks into his own bank accounts. Ogletree also received direct payment from Bank One of a portion of the refund, which represented her purported tax preparation fee. In total, she received $62,203 in tax preparation fees for the 200 fraudulent returns. A review of Ogletree's bank account also showed cash deposits in 2006 totaling approximately $28,000.

In 2007, Robtrel established a storefront business called " Tax Pro" in ...


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