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Tuscumbia Man Sentenced for Bank Robbery That Led Authorities to Tax Fraud Case

BIRMINGHAM—A federal judge today sentenced RICKY WALTER DENTON to 21 years and four months in prison for a 2009 armed bank robbery, less than a month after another federal judge sentenced the Tuscumbia man to nearly six years in prison for a federal tax fraud conspiracy in which he took identifying information of fellow prison inmates and used it to file false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Maley and Colbert County Sheriff Ronnie May.

Police first discovered evidence of the tax fraud while investigating the 2009 robbery of First Southern Bank in Colbert County. A federal jury convicted Denton, 47, of the armed robbery in July. Denton pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. U.S. District Judge Inge P. Johnson sentenced him in January to 70 months in prison on the fraud charges.

Today, U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn sentenced Denton for the armed bank robbery. She ordered that the robbery sentence be served concurrently with the tax fraud sentence. She also ordered Denton to pay $7,458 in restitution to First Southern Bank.

“Denton is an unrepentant career criminal,” Vance said. “He has an extensive criminal history, committing crimes both inside and outside of prison, and he has shown no remorse for the fear he caused bank employees by threatening them with a gun, including the teller who he tried to take hostage. This man does not need to be on the streets,” she said.

“I want to thank the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office for helping bring this violent criminal to justice,” Maley said. “The citizens of northwest Alabama can rest easier knowing Mr. Denton will be behind bars for the next 21 years.”

Denton walked into First Southern Bank in Ford City on Dec. 17, 2009, armed with a gun and concealing his face with a ski mask, according to trial testimony. He held bank employees at gunpoint and ordered them to put money in his backpack. He then demanded a teller’s car and attempted to take the teller hostage. The bank manager prevented Denton from taking the teller hostage, but Denton took the car and left the bank in it.

The tax fraud Denton was convicted of involved a three-year scheme between January 2007 and May 2010 in which Denton and a Tuscumbia woman conspired to obtain $148,685 in false income tax refunds by taking Social Security numbers and birth dates of Denton’s fellow prison inmates and using the information to file false returns.

The FBI and the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office investigated the bank robbery. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Stuart Burrell prosecuted the case.

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