Prison guard charged in tax-fraud scheme

A state prison guard now is jailed after police arrested him in a tax fraud scheme that allegedly netted him and his four accomplices thousands of dollars.

Kenneth Davidson, 38, a corrections officer at the State Correctional Facility at Graterford, allegedly headed the scam, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. Davidson worked a part-time, seasonal job at H&R Block and used his position there - unbeknownst to his bosses - to file fraudulent tax returns and get refunds worth thousands, according to the D.A.'s office.

Kenneth Davidson, prison guard charged in tax-fraud scheme

Sleuths in the D.A.'s Special Investigations Unit and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General began looking into the stolen-identity scam two years ago.

Davidson allegedly relied on Yvonne Williams, Ahmad Gray and Cardell Jackson to provide the names, birthdates and Social Security numbers of friends; an intermediary created fake W-2 forms that Davidson then used to file bogus tax returns and get refunds that were converted into debit or pre-paid cards, according to the D.A.'s office. Each participant then took a cut of the refund as payment. In all, they scammed 14 victims of $16,000, said Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for the D.A.'s office.

Davidson, of 25th Street near Berks in North Philadelphia, was charged with 104 felonies including corrupt organization, forgery and theft. He faces a status hearing Friday. His co-defendants have not yet surrendered to police. Williams faces charges of 63 felonies; Gray, 29 felonies; Jackson, 25 felonies; and a fourth conspirator, Herbert Carter, eight felonies.

Wendy Shaylor, a Graterford spokeswoman, said Davidson began working at Graterford in December 2007 and remains employed there. She declined to answer further questions, citing personnel privacy.