Tax Refund Scams Plagued Miami-Dade In 2012
An April 27 search of 32-year-old Kerly Joseph's apartment turned up 73 pre-paid debit cards in different names, a notebook and several computer printouts containing lists of more than 700 names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. Approximately $161,000 in fraudulent tax refunds had been deposited onto 22 of the cards.
In a separate unrelated complaint, the feds alleged 23-year-old Mavince Milfort used personal identity information stolen from a social security office to file false tax returns using the online Turbo Tax program. Milfort directed the IRS to deposit refunds onto reloadable debit cards. Agents seized four notebooks containing 200 names and personal identification information, more than 500 stolen social security documents, more than 100 pre-paid debit cards, and $24,480 in cash.
Jospeh pled guilty on July 9 to one count of access device fraud and one count of identity theft. He was sentenced to 78 months in prison. Milfort pled guilty to four counts of identity theft, one count of theft of government money and one count of access device fraud. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison.
Volunteer information jackers
Between April to October 2011, 18-year-old Carlos Orozco volunteered at a social security office in Pembroke Pines where he helped himself to social security applications that he sold to Jean LaFrance, a 28-year-old man from North Miami. LaFrance then filed false tax returns using victims' personal information and had the IRS direct deposit the ill gotten government loot onto reloadable debit cards.
LaFrance and Orozco were criminally charged on Feb. 13 on one count of conspiracy to submit false tax return claims. LaFrance was also charged with one count of theft of government money and one count of aggravated identity theft. Both men are awaiting trial.
The enterprising law clerk
While working for a North Miami law firm, 28-year-old Rodney Saintfleur accessed Lexis Nexis, an online proprietary database, to obtain names, dates of birth, and social security numbers on more than 26,000 people. He provided a lot of that stolen data to his co-conspirators, who would file fraudulent tax returns.
On Nov. 27, Saintfleur pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, one count of access device fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
On July 12, the feds indicted Christian Andres Perin, Venancio Oscar Pio, and Olga Rosana Garcia with one count each of conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS. Perin was also charged with seven counts of stealing tax refund checks.
According to the feds, their scam was to use the identities of foreign nationals living outside the United States to file for fraudulent tax refunds. They created false W-2, W-7, and 1040 forms with fictitious employer information, income and withhold amounts. The illegally obtained funds would be deposited into bank accounts or mailed to Perin and Acosta.
Personal foul penalty
William Joseph once starred for the University of Miami football team and went on to play in the NFL. Now he's just a low-life tax return scam artist. The feds watched him cash 13 fraudulent refund checks totalling $70,000 at a North Miami financial services store authorities where watching between February and April. Joseph provided an undercover agent with fake identification documents and forged signatures on the checks.
He pled guilty on Aug. 31 to one count of theft of government money and one count of identity theft. On Nov. 30, Joseph was sentenced to two years in prison.
The million dollar scam man
David Forbes had the IRS deposit $1.5 million into his personal and corporate bank accounts after he filed fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities of dozens of unsuspecting victims. The government seized $888,000 and his bank froze about $98,255 when Forbes was busted.
He pled guilty on Nov. 5 to five separate counts of theft of government monies.
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