A federal grand jury has indicted five people in connection with an identity theft and tax fraud conspiracy in the Middle District of Alabama, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced.

Veronica Dale, Alchico Grant, Laquanta Grant, Isaac Dailey and Leroy Howard were charged with conspiring to defraud and defrauding the U.S. government by filing false tax claims.

All the five were charged in a 39-count indictment that was returned on Dec. 14, 2010, and unsealed last Thursday, the DOJ said.

While Dale has been charged with 24 counts of filing false tax returns, two counts of theft of government funds and two counts of aggravated identity theft, Alchico Grant has been charged with four counts of theft of government funds, Dailey has been charged with three counts of theft of government funds and Howard was charged with two counts of theft of government funds.

According to the indictment, the defendants were involved in a conspiracy, which spanned almost two years and involved using stolen identities to file tax returns claiming more than $2 million in fraudulent refunds over the course of the conspiracy.

The indictment alleges that Dale filed false tax returns using others’ names and Social Security numbers and deposited the fraudulent refunds into bank accounts that she and her co-conspirators controlled.

Dale, Alchico Grant and Laquanta Grant recruited people to set up bank accounts to be used to deposit the tax refunds. Howard and Dailey agreed to have their bank accounts used for receiving the fraudulently-obtained refunds. In addition, Alchico Grant attempted to persuade several witnesses to give false information to law enforcement about the scheme.

If convicted, Dale faces a maximum of 154 years in prison, Alchico Grant faces a maximum of 50 years in prison, Dailey faces a maximum of 40 years in prison, Howard faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and Laquanta Grant faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.