Ocala Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Tax Fraud
Tampa, Florida -U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Dana Brown (37, Ocala) pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of conspiracy to make false claims, aggravated identity theft, and exceeding authorized access to a protected computer with intent to defraud. Brown faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge, a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in federal prison for the aggravated identity theft charge and a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for the computer access charge.
According to court documents, Brown, a patrol officer with the Ocala Police Department had access to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Driver and Vehicle Information Database (“DAVID”). DAVID allows law enforcement officers to retrieve driver and vehicle information for official law enforcement purposes.
Brown conspired with others who were in possession of fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury tax refund checks. The fraudulently obtained tax refund checks were in the names of various individuals whose identities had been stolen. Typically, check cashing businesses and banks require personal identification to negotiate these checks. Brown provided personal identifying information he obtained from DAVID. The information provided by Brown was then used to create fraudulent identification documents that were used to cash the checks. The loss stemming from the scheme exceed $1 million.
This case was prosecuted as part of Operation Rainmaker, a coordinated effort among the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida and various federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, IRS, United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department to combat the filing of false tax returns in the Tampa Bay region.
It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda C. Kaiser.