Orange Park Man Pleads Guilty to Tax-related Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
Jacksonville, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that today Bryan Adrain Copeland (32, Orange Park) entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr., to charges of wire fraud, false claims against the United States, and aggravated identity theft. Copeland faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison for the wire fraud charge, five years in federal prison for the false claims charge, and two years in federal prison for the aggravated identity theft charge, which is mandatory to be served consecutive to any other terms of imprisonment. Each charge carries a $250,000 fine. The plea agreement also states that the United States intends to forfeit no less than $5 million, which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense. His sentencing hearing has been set for May 14, 2012, at 3:00 p.m.
According to the plea agreement, Copeland used the identity information of other individuals, without their knowledge or permission, to file fraudulent federal income tax returns. The plea agreement alleges that Copeland obtained proceeds from the scheme through the U.S. Mail and interstate wire transmissions. Copeland used bank accounts, opened by others, to deposit and receive funds generated by the scheme.
In February 2010, Copeland fled from federal agents and tossed evidence from his vehicle as he drove over the Dames Point Bridge in Jacksonville. Agents recovered the items, which included laptop computers, bank documents, and IRS forms.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the United States Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen O'Malley.