News and Press Releases

TWO MIAMI GARDENS RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH FRAUDULENTLY OBTAINING AND USING TAX REFUNDS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Septembe 20, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Miami Field Office, and John E. Brooks, Chief, Sunrise Police Department, announced that defendants Latoya Balsh, 23, and Meshanto Elizor, 18, both of Miami Gardens, Florida, were charged in a Criminal Information today with one count of access device fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(a) and 2.

According to the Information and court documents, identities of numerous victims were used to electronically file fraudulent tax returns using a commercially available tax software program. In this way, the defendants obtained money cards containing IRS refunds based on fraudulent tax returns. The defendants used these cards to obtain money orders and cash at a retail store in Sunrise, Florida.

If convicted, the defendants each face a term of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Secret Service and the Sunrise Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Katz.

An Information is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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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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