News and Press Releases

Third Defendant Sentenced in $14 Million Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 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), Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Matthew Boyd, Chief, Miami Gardens Police Department, and Larry Gomer, Chief, North Miami Beach Police Department, announce that defendant Serge St-Vil, 61, of Miami, was sentenced today for his participation in a stolen identity tax refund scheme that resulted in the submission of approximately $14 million in fraudulent refund claims. St-Vil was sentenced to 96 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $7 million forfeiture money judgment. St-Vil previously pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and one count of aggravated identity theft in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.

According to court documents, in 2010, St-Vil, Muller Pierre, and Finshley Fanor were involved in a scheme to file fraudulent and unauthorized tax returns seeking refunds. During the course of the scheme, there were over 5,000 fraudulent and unauthorized returns submitted to the Internal Revenue Service seeking over $14 million in refunds. Nearly all of these returns were submitted in the names of deceased persons. St-Vil was responsible for the filing of thousands of these returns using an Electronic Filing Identification Number obtained by Fanor.

Court documents show that the Internal Revenue Service paid out $12.1 million in refunds into bank accounts controlled by the defendants and co-conspirators connected to the scheme. There was over $6 million in refunds deposited into accounts controlled directly by St-Vil and an additional $1.6 million deposited indirectly into St-Vil’s bank account from co-conspirators’ accounts. In addition, there was $600,000 in refunds deposited into accounts controlled by Pierre and an additional $1.7 million deposited indirectly into Pierre’s bank account from co-conspirators’ accounts.

On June 26, 2013, Muller Pierre, 62, of North Miami Beach, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Pierre pled guilty to wire fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. On May 22, 2013, Finshley Fanor, 34, of Lauderhill, was sentenced to two years of probation. Fanor pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Identity Theft Tax Refund Strike Force, with special commendation to the IRS-CI, the U.S. Secret Service, the Miami Gardens Police Department, and the North Miami Beach Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.

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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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