ATLANTA — A former Department of Revenue worker from Jonesboro has admitted to being the leader of a fraudulent income tax ring that netted about $200,000 from the state, said officials.
Naterica Loreal Burkes, 31, of Georgetown Lane in Jonesboro orchestrated a scheme to steal money from the state by creating fraudulent accounts in DOR’s computer system and issuing tax refund checks to herself, former colleagues, family, friends and associates, said Lauren Kane, spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney General’s Office.
Burkes and six co-defendants pleaded guilty in DeKalb County Superior Court to their roles in stealing $200,000 from state taxpayers. They are part of a group of 15 conspirators, said Kane.
Burkes, Lloyd Burkes, 34, of the same Jonesboro address; Chandra Nicole Long, 35, of Lancelot Court in Riverdale; Nicole Danielle Calhoun of Cincinnati, Ohio; Justin Cerron Clark of Decatur and Leonard Harvey of Lawrenceville pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering.
Nykea Jonte Williams of Marietta pleaded guilty to one count of theft by taking.
Kane said Naterica Burkes and her co-conspirators deposited refund checks into personal bank accounts or cashed them at businesses before divvying up the proceeds.
Between July 2008 and September 2011, Naterica Burkes issued 33 illegal tax refunds.
Judge Tangela Barrie sentenced six of the seven defendants. Naterica Burkes was sentenced under the First Offender Act to five years in prison, with the first year on house arrest, 15 years probation and $40,000 restitution.
Lloyd Burkes was sentenced under the First Offender Act to one year in prison, four years probation and $10,000 restitution.
Clark was sentenced under the First Offender Act to one year in prison on work release, nine years probation and $9,225 restitution.
Harvey was sentenced to one year in prison on work release, four years probation and $3,403 restitution.
Long was sentenced under the First Offender Act to one year in prison on work release, nine years probation and $6,100.25 restitution.
Williams was sentenced to one year in prison, nine years probation and $1,474.50 restitution.
Calhoun will be sentenced Jan. 29.
Codefendants Tomichi Aundrese Lee, 31, of Old Dixie Highway in Forest Park, Rochelle Lashaun Hunter, 33, of Godby Road in College Park, Sochie Lora Jordan of Atlanta and Kedrick Lamar Lacey of Atlanta pleaded guilty in DeKalb County Superior Court in February.
Kenneth Sheriff pleaded guilty in March.
Charges are still pending against Kaiesha Ash of Atlanta David H. Pitts of Newborn and Olivetti Key of Atlanta.
Assistant Attorney General Greg Lohmeier and former Assistant Attorney General Shepard Orlow prosecuted the case on behalf of the state of Georgia. The case was investigated by Special Agent Alan Dickinson of DOR and Special Agent Jonathan Spurlock of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.