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December 1, 2023

Woman Sentenced for Her Role in Stealing $300,000 in an Internal Revenue Service Impersonation Scheme

On November 6, 2023, in the Western District of Tennessee, Telisha Futrell was sentenced to 46 months of imprisonment, three years’ supervised release, ordered to pay $169,627.81 in restitution, and a $100 special assessment. Futrell pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) impersonation scam.

In 2014, a victim was contacted and told that a Facebook friend died, and that the victim was a beneficiary of a multi-million-dollar inheritance. To claim the inheritance, the victim was informed that he would have to pay taxes up front, and the payment of taxes would be handled through an IRS employee named Shieka Obannon, who was actually Futrell. When the payments began to exhaust the victim’s resources, the victim solicited the help of a friend, another victim, to also make payments.   
While pretending to be Obannon, Futrell directed the victims to pay her in cash and by using money transfers, such as Western Union, JPay, and MoneyGram. Futrell created additional fictious characters, claiming to be attorneys and other IRS employees, and communicated under these false identities with the victims about payments. According to the victims, one paid approximately $200,000, and the other paid $100,000 to Futrell.

Source: The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: W.D. Tenn. Indict., filed Mar. 15, 2022; W.D. Tenn. Plea Agr., filed May 30, 2023; and W.D. Tenn. Judgement filed Nov. 3, 2023.