Alchico Grant and Melinda Clayton were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Alabama on a variety of charges stemming from an identity theft and tax fraud scheme, the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Leura G. Canary and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have announced.

The 21-count indictment charges the two with filing false claims against the United States, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Clayton had previously been arrested on a criminal complaint on April 8, 2011, following the execution of a search warrant at her house that same day. Grant had been indicted, along with several co-conspirators, in December 2010, for his involvement in an earlier conspiracy to obtain tax refunds using stolen identities. Grant was on pretrial release when indicted on the new charges. At a hearing on April 28, 2011, Grant's pretrial release was revoked and he was ordered detained.

According to the new indictment, Clayton and Grant fraudulently obtained tax refunds using stolen identities. The two would illegally obtain identity information, file false tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds using the stolen identities and have the proceeds deposited into bank accounts and stored value card accounts they controlled. Grant would purchase stored value cards that were used to receive proceeds from some of the false returns.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Clayton and Grant both face a maximum of 189 years in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years. If convicted, they will also face forfeiture of the proceeds of their crimes and mandatory restitution.

The case was investigated by Special Agents of the IRS - Criminal Investigation. Trial attorneys Jason H. Poole and Michael Boteler of the Justice Department's Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Morris are prosecuting the case.