News and Press Releases

Previously Convicted Felon Charged in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme and Possession of a Firearm

May 10, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Michael J. De Palma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), announced the indictment of David Joseph, 27, of Ft. Lauderdale, on identity theft and tax refund fraud charges and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Defendant Joseph made his initial appearance in federal court earlier today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer in Ft. Lauderdale.

The indictment charges defendant David Joseph with four counts of filing false claims with the IRS, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287, one count of access device fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(a) (3), four counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A (a) (1), and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(d)(1).

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on April 25, 2013, USSS and IRS-CI agents executed a search warrant at a residence in West Park, Florida, regarding possible stolen identities and tax refund fraud (SIRF) activities at the subject location. SIRF involves the unauthorized use of victims’ identities and personal information to file fraudulent tax returns requesting fraudulent, refunds. During the search, the agents recovered numerous notebooks, medical printouts, IRS correspondence, prepaid debit cards, bank documents, and various other documents that contained thousands of access devices— victims’ names with corresponding social security numbers and dates of birth. A fully loaded semi-automatic MasterPiece Arms 9 mm pistol and additional ammunition belonging to defendant Joseph, a previously convicted felon, was also recovered.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum of five years’ in prison on each of the fraudulent claims counts, up to 10 years in prison on the access device fraud count, up to 2 years on each aggravated identity theft count, and up to 10 years in prison on the count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the USSS, IRS-CI, and ATF. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha R. Mitrani.

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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 Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

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