North Miami Resident Pleads Guilty to 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), announced today announced that Josue Faustin, 20, of North Miami, pled guilty this morning to charges of possession of unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(3) and 1028A(a)(1), (b), and (c)(4).
Sentencing has been scheduled for May 9, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Zloch. At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to 10 years in prison for the possession of unauthorized access devices charge, and a mandatory sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment on the aggravated identity theft charge.
According to documents filed and statements made in court, Faustin engaged in a scheme using stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns. The tax returns falsely claimed refunds and requested that the refunds be direct-deposited into Netspend debit card accounts, which Faustin had opened in the names of unwitting identity theft victims. Faustin subsequently went to various ATM machines in Coral Springs, Broward County, and withdrew funds from the Netspend debit card accounts.
On May 17, 2012, Faustin was observed by a Coral Springs police officer as he went to various CVS and 7-11 stores and bought pre-paid credit cards. After the purchases, Faustin went to ATM machines and withdrew money. Faustin was pulled over for a traffic stop and was found to be in possession of $5,881 in cash (separated into numerous bundles), 3 cell phones, 15 Netspend debit cards, and 4 newly purchased debit cards.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Keene.
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.