Millbrook woman gets prison for student ID thefts

MILLBROOK, AL (WSFA) - A Millbrook woman who was convicted in September of identity theft, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to make false claims for tax refunds learned her fate before a judge Wednesday.

Janika Fernae Bates will serve just under 9 years (94 months) in federal prison for stealing identities of student loan borrowers and providing them to a co-conspirator, who used them to file false tax returns, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said.

U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson also ordered Bates to pay $246,064 in restitution to HSBC Taxpayer Financial Services and $30,211 in restitution to the IRS.

Evidence at trial proved Bates took the names and Social Security numbers of student loan borrowers from the databases at her former employer and conspired to use the stolen identifying information to steal money from the government and from a bank.

Several victims testified that they did not consent to the use of their names and Social Security numbers and said they never received any money from refunds generated from the false documents filed with the IRS.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said evidence also revealed that Bates and her co-conspirator, Keshia Brayboy, fraudulently obtained refund anticipation loans from a bank predicated on the fraudulently filed tax returns.

Brayboy pleaded guilty in 2009 to filing a false tax return. She served two years in federal prison.

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