News and Press Releases

Hollywood Man Sentenced to 16 Years in Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), Miami Field Office, and Steven Steinberg, Chief, Aventura Police Department (Aventura PD), announce the sentencing of defendant Jonathan Torres-Bonilla, 36, of Hollywood. Torres-Bonilla was sentenced to 16 years in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. The defendant was also ordered to pay $100,388.01 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

On December 27, 2012, defendant Torres was convicted at trial of all six counts in the indictment against him. Specifically, Torres was convicted of two counts of access device fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(2) and 1029(a)(3), and four counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1), in connection with an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, the defendant had been observed by plain-clothes Aventura police officers at the Aventura Mall using multiple debit cards at multiple different ATMs on November 25, 2011. Aventura police officers followed the defendant to the mall garage, where he tried to flee in a minivan. The defendant was arrested when he refused to provide identification. The officers then searched the defendant and his car and found 28 pre-paid debit cards (loaded with $117,000 in tax refunds), dozens of ATM receipts, and more than $1,700 in cash. At sentencing, the defendant was found to have obstructed justice by lying during his testimony at trial.

Mr. Ferrer commended the efforts of IRS-CID and Aventura PD for their work on the case. The case was 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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