On March 18, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia announced that Kevin Kirton, a computer consultant, had been sentenced to six years and nine months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of over $600,000. Kirton pled guilty to a scheme involving fraudulent computer access that led to over $600,000 in stolen tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service. Kirton allegedly created a computer program that would allow users to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS by accessing a cache of stolen identities to be used in filing fake returns in the names of the individuals whose identities had been stolen by criminal actors. The program could even be accessed remotely over the internet. Proceeds from the fraud – the tax refunds – were put on prepaid debit cards, which bore the names of the victims.
The government did not elaborate on how Kirton obtained the information of the individuals whose identities had been stolen; however, the government’s press release stated that Kirton had “effectively automat[ed] stolen identity tax refund fraud.” To further protect the scheme, Kirton developed a method to hide users’ IP addresses from the government to reduce the possibility that users would be identified. Kirton also allegedly developed a phone system that he believed could not be overheard by the government. After his arrest, Kirton allegedly went to further lengths to prevent his conviction. The government claims that Kirton contacted an associate to influence a cooperating witness’s testimony by making threats via the associate. However, the associate was in custody, and the phone calls were recorded. As a result, Kirton’s bond was revoked. Eventually, Kirton pled guilty in June of 2021; however, he was not sentenced until last week.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with white-collar criminal investigations. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.