Return Preparer Pleads Guilty in Identity Theft Tax Refund Scheme Involving Personal Identification Information of Miami-Dade County Public School Students
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Donnell Young, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, and J. Scott Dennis, Chief, North Miami Beach Police Department, announce that Donald Claude, 34, of Miramar, pled guilty today to one count of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). Sentencing is scheduled for October 24, 2014. At sentencing, Claude faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, and a mandatory term of two years in prison, consecutive to any other term in prison, for aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, Claude was the Chief Executive Officer of J&D Tax Services, LLC. Claude obtained an Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) for J&D Tax Services, LLC which permitted Claude and co-defendant James Jean-Baptiste to file tax returns electronically in the names of other individuals. Claude also obtained a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) as a tax preparer that permitted him to identify himself as the preparer on tax returns electronically filed in the names of other individuals.
Claude and Jean-Baptiste obtained the personal identification information (PIl) of students from an employee of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Claude and Jean-Baptiste used the students’ stolen identities to file false and fraudulent tax returns with the IRS to fraudulently obtain tax refunds for their personal use and benefit. Claude and his co-conspirators caused over $200,000 in false and fraudulent tax refund claims to be submitted to the IRS from 2009 through 2011 through his EFIN and PTIN.
James Jean-Baptiste was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, seven counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and seven counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). Jean-Baptiste remains at large.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, the USSS, and the North Miami Beach Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gera R. Peoples.
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.