AG: Detroit racketeering ring netted $100K in tax credit scheme

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
Dana Nessel

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Thursday announced charges against a Detroit racketeering ring accused of illegally gaining $100,000 in state property tax credits.

An investigation found that between February 2014 and April 2018, the group used fake Social Security numbers to secure Homestead Property Tax Credits from the Michigan Department of Treasury that none of the members were entitled to, Nessel's office said in a statement. An audit of the returns alerted authorities to the scheme.

Once receiving the rebate checks, the suspects allegedly split the proceeds with two people identified as the suspected ring leaders, Persalyn Williams, 41, and Lamar Johnson, 38, who allegedly pocketed more than $50,000 and $15,000, respectively, the Attorney General's Office reported.

“It’s unfortunate these individuals appear to have taken advantage of a tax credit designed to give working families and individuals a helping hand,” Nessel said. “I want today’s actions to send a crystal-clear message to those who abuse our tax system: You will be held accountable for your actions.”

Williams, Johnson and eight others were charged Thursday with receiving proceeds from a criminal enterprise and larceny:
• William Mattox, 48, who allegedly cashed $8,846 in rebate checks
• Sherry Gallmore, 26, who is charged with cashing $8,529 in rebate checks
• Lashwanda Huffman-Williams, 42, who allegedly cashed $25,399 in rebate checks
•Claud Sherman Huffman, 59, who faces charges of cashing $11,953 in rebate checks
•Crystal Dail, 56, who allegedly cashed $3,991 in rebate checks
•Elizabeth Davis, 37, allegedly cashed $5,888 in rebate checks
•Krystal Allen, 36, who is charged with cashing $5,866 in rebate checks. She also has been charged with one count of conspiracy.
•Anthony Sykes, 28, who allegedly cashed $1,995 in rebate checks

A probable-cause conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in Eaton County’s 56A District Court.