News and Press Releases

Second Defendant Pleads Guilty in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2014

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Daniel C. Alexander, Chief, Boca Raton Police Department, announce that defendant Brandon James, of Miami, pled guilty today for his participation in a stolen identity tax refund scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for March 26, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. before Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley.

Specifically, James pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal monies of the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, the conspiracy being a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; one count of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641; and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A. At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge, a maximum of ten years in prison for the theft of government funds charge, and a mandatory term of two years in prison, consecutive to any other term in prison, for the aggravated identity theft charge.

According to court documents, James and co-defendant Laron Lanece Larkin were involved in a scheme to unjustly enrich themselves by obtaining income tax refunds to which they were not entitled. The defendants and their co-conspirators submitted false income tax returns in the names of individuals without their knowledge or consent. To receive the fraudulent refunds, James and a co-conspirator purchased debit cards at a convenience store with stolen identity information, such as names, dates of birth and Social Security account numbers belonging to real persons. Based upon the false income tax returns submitted, the lRS sent the income tax refunds electronically to the pre-purchased debit cards. The defendant admitted that he cashed-out the monies electronically transferred to the debit cards by making point of sale purchases and cash withdrawals from automatic teller machines at various locations within Broward and Palm Beach counties. The actual loss sustained by the U.S. Treasury in connection with this scheme is in excess of $43,000.

Laron Lanece Larkin, of Miami, was sentenced on October 7, 2013 to 36 months and one day in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Larkin pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal monies of the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, the conspiracy being a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, FBI, and the Boca Raton Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Carlton.

Return to Top

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

United States Attorneys 225th Anniversary
USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Stay Connected: Visit us on Twitter
What Makes Schools Safer? Using science to discover what works. Federal funding available. Visit NIJ.gov, keywords: 'comprehensive school safety intiative'
Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.