OAKLAND -- Two Oakland residents who set up a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service based on false claims had their first appearances in court after being indicted last month,¿ federal authorities said Monday.

Akysha Rockwell made her initial appearance Monday and Paul Lamont Lee made his initial appearance on Friday in federal court on a 20-count indictment charging them with conspiracy to file false claims, false claims, and identity fraud, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. Their ages were not released.

Between Jan. 12 and July 16, 2012, Rockwell and Lee allegedly obtained names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates for numerous people and then electronically filed federal income tax returns, in their names, claiming refunds derived from tax credits they did not qualify for, including the Earned Income Credit, the Additional Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Credit, federal authorities said.

Both face up to 17 years in federal prison and fines of up to $750,000.

Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.



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