News and Press Releases

Miramar Man Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announced that defendant Johnny Alexander Melo, 36, of Miramar, was sentenced today for his participation in an identity theft tax refund scheme. Melo was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release. In addition, U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola ordered Melo to pay restitution of $18,594.63 to the IRS. Melo previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to use a false identification document, one count of possession of five or more identification documents, one count of theft of government funds and one count of aggravated identity theft. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service following the hearing.

On October 5, 2012, defendant Melo was charged in a ten (10) count indictment for his participation in an identity theft tax refund scheme. According to the indictment, defendant Melo and his co-conspirators stole personal identification information and used the stolen information to file false tax returns in the identities of at least 22 individuals. The U.S. Treasury issued tax refund checks in the names of those individuals. Melo then attempted to cash these fraudulently obtained tax refund checks by using false driver’s licenses in the names of the stolen identities.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Identity Theft Tax Refund Strike Force, with special commendation to the FBI and IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael B. Nadler.

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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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