News and Press Releases

Former TD Bank Employee and Co-Defendant Plead Guilty in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 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), and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), announce that Tenisha Nkesha Francis, 32, of Lake Worth, and Ryan Michael Francis, 27, of Riviera Beach, pled guilty today for their participation in a stolen identity tax refund scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for September 11, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. before Senior U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp.

Specifically, the defendants each pled guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(1) and 2, and one count of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 641 and 2. At sentencing, the defendants each face a mandatory term of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge, to run consecutively to any other sentence, and a maximum term of ten years in prison for the theft of government funds charge.

According to court documents, Tenisha Francis worked as a Financial Services Representative at TD Bank. Tenisha Francis opened seven fraudulent accounts at the bank with stolen identification information obtained from co-defendant Ryan Francis. She was paid between $200 and $500 to open each fraudulent account. After opening the accounts, Tenisha Francis performed maintenance on these accounts and changed certain identifiers associated with the accounts, such as customers’ dates of birth, addresses and telephone numbers. Stolen U.S. Treasury checks were deposited into the accounts, and funds were withdrawn via check card purchases, ATM withdrawals and checks payable to third parties including Ryan Francis and his wife, Vanessa Brown, and Ryan Francis’ company, J.A. Kingz Automotive, LLC.

The amount of loss attributable to Tenisha Francis’ relevant conduct is between $120,000 and $200,000. The amount of loss attributable to Ryan Francis’ relevant conduct will be determined at his sentencing hearing.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the USSS. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rinku Tribuiani.

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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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