Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fort Benning Employee Allegedly Steals Military Identities to Commit Multi-Million Dollar Tax Refund Fraud

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information today:

Tracy Mitchell, a resident of Phenix City, Ala., was indicted for her involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme, Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department's Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. for the Middle District of Alabama announced today following the unsealing of the indictment.
Mitchell is charged with eight counts of wire fraud and eight counts of aggravated identity theft.  According to the indictment, Mitchell worked at the hospital on the Fort Benning Army Base in Georgia, where she had access to the means of identification of military personnel, including soldiers who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Mitchell stole the identities of military personnel and used those identities to file over 1,000 false tax returns from her home.  These false tax returns claimed over $2.2 million in fraudulent refunds. 
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the defendant faces a statutory maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and a statutory mandatory two-year sentence for each aggravated identity theft count.  The defendant is also subject to fines, forfeiture and restitution if convicted.
The case was investigated by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Army – Criminal Investigation Division.  Trial Attorney Michael Boteler of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown are prosecuting the case.   


  1. Throw the book at her! Most sand-crabs (civilian employees of DOD) are hard-working, decent people, and without those people the military would grind to a halt. This woman, though, needs to be severely punished. That will send an important signal to everyone in DOD.

  2. R.T.,

    I agree. After my Navy enlisted service, I served as a DoD employee for more than 33 years - but I never heard the expression "sand-crabs" before...

  3. Really? Some people used the term derisively, but I used it only positively. I do not know the origins or the real intent. So, if I offended anyone by using the term, I guess I owe some apologies.

  4. R.T.,

    I was not offended, but the term "sand-crab" was a new one for me.

    And you are right, without the support of DoD civilian employees, the U.S. military could not operate. From senior DoD civilian leadership, to procurement and contract managment, intelligence and law enforcement, and other support activities, the current 718,000 civilian employees are proud members of the Defense Department who support the 1.4 million men and women in uniform in war and peace.

    For more than 21 years, I served as the civilian administrative officer of a DoD command in Philadelphia. I wore a good number of "hats" and oversaw a good number of support programs, although security programs took up most of my time.

    I also took pride in my public affairs role, and I enjoyed addressing kids from schools and the children of our employees. In those years, I gave a powerpoint briefing called DoD 101, in which I used info and data that was put together by the Pentagon. The Pentagon changed the briefing almost daily so the numbers were accurate. The kids seemed to enjoy the briefing and they asked a lot of questions. many did not know what their civilian moms and dads did.

  5. You can acces the Pentagon's current DoD 101 report at