News and Press Releases

Defendant Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2014

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that defendant Wendy Sands, 42, of Opa-Locka, was sentenced today to 26 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Sands previously pled guilty to one count of possessing fifteen or more unauthorized access devices with the intent to defraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(3), and to one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.

According to court documents, on January 16, 2013, Sands met with a confidential source (CS) and Sands was unaware the CS was working for the government. During the meeting, Sands provided the CS with documents that contained personal identifying information -- including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers -- for approximately 64 stolen identities. Sands knew that these 64 stolen identities belonged to real people and that the 64 victims did not authorize her to possess their personal information. Sands also knew that the stolen personal identifying information would be used to file fraudulent tax returns.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Snyder.

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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.

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