News and Press Releases

Miami Man Sentenced to 78 Months on Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2012

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 Larry Gomer, Interim Chief, North Miami Beach Police Department, announced today’s sentencing of Kerly Joseph, 32, of Miami, on charges related to identity theft tax refund fraud. At today’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga sentenced Joseph to 78 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Joseph had pled guilty on July 9, 2012 to one count of access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, on April 27, 2012, law enforcement conducted a search of Joseph’s studio apartment and found approximately 73 pre-paid debit cards in different names, a notebook and several computer printouts, containing lists with more than 700 names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, with notations indicating whether a tax return had been accepted or rejected. Also found during the search were a file folder containing tax returns for numerous individuals and a laptop computer, which was turned on and set to an Internet browser window opened to an online tax preparation website.

According to court documents and statements made in court, law enforcement contacted one of the issuing banks regarding the pre-paid debit cards and determined that there was approximately $161,000 in tax refund money that had been loaded onto 22 of the pre-paid debit cards. Law enforcement also obtained ATM video showing the defendant withdrawing money from one of the pre-paid debit cards issued to a victim named “K.G.”

Mr. Ferrer commended IRS-CI and the North Miami Beach Police Department for their work on the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.

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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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