News and Press Releases

Three Defendants Plead Guilty in $14 Million Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Matthew Boyd, Chief, Miami Gardens Police Department, and Larry Gomer, Chief, North Miami Beach Police Department, announce that defendants Serge St-Vil, 61, of Miami, Muller Pierre, 62, of North Miami Beach, and Finshley Fanor, 34, of Lauderhill, pled guilty today for their participation in a stolen identity tax refund scheme that resulted in the submission of approximately $14 million in fraudulent refund claims.

St-Vil pled guilty 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. Sentencing for St-Vil is scheduled for May 17, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola. At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum possible statutory term of imprisonment of up to 22 years.

Pierre pled guilty to wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. Sentencing for Pierre is scheduled for May 21, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Scola. At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum possible statutory term of imprisonment of up to 20 years.

Fanor pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. Sentencing for Fanor is scheduled for May 22, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Scola. At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum possible statutory term of imprisonment of up to 10 years.

According to the plea documents filed with the court, in 2010, the defendants were involved in a scheme to file fraudulent and unauthorized tax returns seeking refunds. During the course of the scheme, more than 5,000 fraudulent and unauthorized returns were submitted to the IRS seeking over $14 million in refunds. Nearly all of these returns were submitted in the names of deceased persons. St-Vil was responsible for the filing of thousands of these returns using an Electronic Filing Identification Number obtained by Fanor.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Identity Theft Tax Refund Strike Force, with special commendation to the IRS-CI, the U.S. Secret Service, the Miami Gardens Police Department, and the North Miami Beach Police Department. 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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