Former Delray Beach Resident Convicted In Third Case Involving Identity Theft
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 that Jeffrey Emil Groover, 53, formerly of Delray Beach, was convicted by a jury of all six counts with which he was charged. Specifically, Groover was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, three counts of bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344, and two counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 3, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Dimitrouleas. At sentencing, Groover faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, 20 years in prison for each count of bank fraud, and a mandatory term of two years in prison, consecutive to any other term in prison, for the aggravated identity theft charges.
According to evidence presented at trial and court documents, Groover used the personal identifying information (PII) of an individual without her knowledge or consent to open a checking account and obtain a debit/VISA card at TD Bank. The defendant forged the name on the signature card for the account and, when asked for identification, produced a fraudulent, photo-switched Florida Driver's License with the individual’s correct information, but the defendant's photograph. Approximately one week after opening the account at TD Bank, the defendant again used the individual’s PII to open a checking account at PNC Bank. When asked to provide two forms of identification for the account, the defendant used the fraudulent debit/VISA card obtained from TD Bank, and the fraudulent, photo-switched Florida Driver's License. Groover directed the PNC banker to set up overdraft protection for the fraudulent checking account using the individual’s existing home equity line of credit. Between September 27, 2013 and September 30, 2013, the defendant and his co-conspirators withdrew and attempted to withdraw approximately $170,000 from the individual’s home equity line of credit by cashing a $20,000 check drawn directly on the line of credit.
In a separate case involving an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme, Groover was sentenced on April 18, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum to 60 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $350,373.86 in restitution. Groover previously pled guilty to the indictment in this case, which charged him with making and presenting false claims to the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287.
In sentencing the defendant to a sentence significantly above the sentencing guideline range in this previous case, the judge noted the defendant’s extensive criminal history, his arrest for a new identity theft crime while on bond awaiting sentencing, and the large number of victims who suffered, some for years, as a result of his repeated commission of identity theft crimes. The judge also noted that while serving a 46 month sentence for identity theft in 2004, the defendant provided testimony to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, in which he explained how easy it was to commit identity theft using the internet and how his 46 month sentence would cause him to never commit such crimes again. Since the 46 month sentence had not deterred Groover from committing new crimes, the judge imposed a 60 month sentence.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adrienne Rabinowitz and Alexandra Hui.
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.