Two Alabama residents recently received sentences of more than 25 years in prison each, and are ordered to pay $2.8 million in restitution to the IRS, for operating an identity fraud ring over a period of several years.

"Veronica Dale and Alchico Grant were indicted in December 2010," writes Becker's Hospital Review's Molly Gamble. "In fall 2011, Mr. Grant pleaded guilty to a total of five charges from both indictments, including conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Ms. Dale pleaded guilty to a total of seven charges from both indictments, including conspiracy, filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft."

"According to indictments, plea agreements and other court documents, the defendants were part of a scheme that involved fraudulently obtaining tax refunds by filing false tax returns using stolen identities," The Birmingham News reports. "The scheme began in 2009 and continued through 2010, authorities say. Dale admitted that she filed more than 500 fraudulent returns that sought at least $3.7 million in tax refunds. These returns were filed using the names of Medicaid beneficiaries, whose personal information Dale obtained while earlier employed by a company that serviced Medicaid programs."

"The Justice Department remains committed to protecting Americans from thieves who would steal their identities and use them to commit refund fraud," Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department’s Tax Division said in a statement. "Those who commit stolen identity refund fraud will be punished to the full extent of the law."