News and Press Releases

DAYTON MAN INDICTED ON MORE THAN THREE DOZEN ADDITIONAL CHARGES FOR BUYING STOLEN IDENTITIES ONLINE AND FILING FALSE INCOME TAX RETURNS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014
http://www.justice.gov/usao/ohs
CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer
(614) 469-5715

DAYTON – A federal grand jury has returned a 42-count superseding indictment against Lance Ealy, 28, of Dayton, alleging that he bought hundreds of stolen identities online and used the identities to file more than 150 fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking refunds to which he was not entitled. 

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS), and Mark Porter, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service announced the superseding indictment today following Ealy’s appearance before U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett, who released Ealy on electronic monitoring and set a trial date for August 18, 2014.

Ealy was initially charged in a federal complaint filed on October 28, 2013 following in investigation by Secret Service agents that revealed that Ealy had purchased hundreds of stolen identities from an online source. A federal grand jury initially indicted Ealy in November 2013, charging him with one count of knowingly possessing 5 or more access devices with intent to defraud.

The superseding indictment charges him with 41 additional charges, including 11 counts of filing false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS, 14 counts of wire fraud, 14 counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of mail fraud, and one count of using unauthorized access devices to obtain items of $1,000 or more in value in a one-year period. An access device includes things such as payment cards and bank account numbers used to access financial accounts.

The superseding indictment alleges that between approximately January 2013 and October 2013, Ealy electronically filed at least 150 fraudulent federal income tax returns, which include filing at least 50 fraudulent returns using the personal information of others that he had unlawfully acquired or purchased from an online broker.  The superseding indictment further alleges that Ealy opened dozens of bank accounts at multiple financial institutions using the names and social security numbers of other individuals – without their knowledge or permission – in order to electronically deposit the fraudulent tax refunds. 

Illegally possessing fifteen or more unauthorized access devices with intent to defraud and using unauthorized access devices to obtain items of $1,000 or more in value carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000; filing false claims for income tax refunds with the IRS carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; wire fraud and mail fraud each carry a maximum penalty 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000; and aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year sentence that must run consecutive to whatever sentence may ultimately be handed down.

IRS Special Agent in Charge Enstrom said, “Individuals who commit refund fraud and identity theft of this magnitude and with this degree of trickery, dishonesty and deceit, deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.  IRS Criminal Investigation, along with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney's Office, remain vigilant in identifying, investigating and prosecuting those individuals who seek to willfully defraud the United States Treasury and blatantly disregard the victims of their schemes.”

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation of this case by the Secret Service and IRS-Criminal Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alex R. Sistla and Andrew J. Hunt, who are prosecuting the case.

An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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