Palm Beach Woman Arrested on Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Charges
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, (IRS-CI), announce the arrest of Tia Lashonda Miller, 39, of West Palm Beach, on charges of unlawful possession of unauthorized access devices, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(3), and five counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1)). Miller made her initial appearance in court on Monday, February 24, 2014, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr., and again at a bond hearing on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 that resulted in her detention without bond pending trial.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum statutory term of ten years in prison on the access devices count, and consecutive sentences of mandatory two years in prison on each aggravated identity theft count.
According to the indictment and both public filings and testimony in open court, Miller was found in possession of notebooks containing stolen personal identity information for over 700 persons, including names, dates of birth and social security account numbers, together with twenty credit and debit cards, eighteen of which were in the names of persons also found in the notebooks. IRS investigation determined that many of the names and account numbers were used to file fraudulent tax returns, seeking unmerited tax refund payments to credit and debit cards and to other accounts.
Agents, authorized by federal court search warrants, searched Miller’s home and computers and found additional evidence of fraudulent tax filings in the names of other identity theft victims.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the Martin County Sheriff’s Office for their work investigating this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.
An indictment is only an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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.