News and Press Releases

Miami-Dade Resident Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Steven Steinberg, Chief, City of Aventura Police Department, and Ray Black, Chief, City of Miramar Police Department, announce today’s sentencing of defendant Braxton Geovanni Bell, 21, of Miami Gardens, Florida. Bell was sentenced to 34 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.

On February 7, 2013, Bell was convicted at trial of one count of access device fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(2), and two counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). On April 16, 2013, Bell pled guilty in a separate criminal case to one count of access device fraud.

According to testimony at trial and court documents, Bell used the names and social security account numbers of unwitting victims to submit fraudulent tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service. Based on these fraudulent returns, Bell obtained tax refunds on prepaid debt cards, and then used the money to purchase luxury items, including a Mercedes Benz, a custom made gold chain, a Rolex “Presidential” Gold watch, a bracelet, and expensive furniture.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, the City of Aventura Police Department, and the City of Miramar Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gera R. Peoples, Michael Nadler, and Peter Forand.

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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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