News and Press Releases

Previously Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme and Possession of a Firearm

July 29, 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. DePalma, 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), Miami Field Office, announce that defendant David Joseph, 27, of Ft. Lauderdale, pled guilty on Friday, July 26, 2013, to one count 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), one count 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).

Sentencing is scheduled for October 4, 2013 before U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch. At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum of five years in prison on the fraudulent claim count, a maximum of 10 years in prison on the access device fraud count, a maximum of two years on the aggravated identity theft count, and a maximum of 10 years in prison on the count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to court documents, 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.

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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