Broward County Resident Convicted in Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Using Stolen Identities
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announced that yesterday a jury convicted Lee Ervin Dale, 30, of Fort Lauderdale, for his participation in a tax refund scheme using stolen identities to convert government monies to his own use, and to make and present false, fictitious and fraudulent claims to the IRS. More specifically, Dale was convicted of two counts of converting government funds to his own use (income tax refund checks), six counts of making and presenting false claims to the IRS (presenting income tax returns for refunds), and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
Sentencing has been scheduled for June 17, 2013, at 9:00 A.M. before U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams. At sentencing, the defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison on each count of theft of government funds, up to 5 years in prison on each count of making and presenting a false claim to the government, and two years consecutive to the other sentences on the aggravated identity theft charges.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, 291 handwritten tax returns claiming more than $2 million in refunds were filed between 2006 and 2009 using stolen identities and listing the Dale’s P.O. Box address. Although the IRS was able to prevent refund checks from being issued on most of these claims, approximately $195,000 in refund checks were mailed to Dale’s P.O. Box. Several of these checks were deposited directly into bank accounts bearing both Dale’s name and the identity theft victim’s name. Other checks were cashed at a check cashing store in Oakland Park, Florida, in exchange for cash and money orders that the Defendant then deposited into his own accounts.
Mr. Ferrer thanked the agents at IRS-CI for their work on this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laurie E. Rucoba and Jared Strauss.
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.