Florida Resident Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Identity Theft and Conspiring to File Fraudulent Tax Returns
Used Stolen IDs to Seek More Than $2 Million in Fraudulent Refunds
A Miami-Dade, Florida man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to use stolen IDs to file fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida.
According to documents filed with the court, from approximately 2008 through January 2015, in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, Jean Leroy Destine, 36, and others, obtained stolen IDs, to include the personal identifying information of prisoners and deceased individuals. They used this information to prepare and file with the IRS approximately 2,000 tax returns seeking more than $2 million in fraudulent refunds. Destine and his co-conspirators covered their tracks by recruiting individuals to obtain Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) in their names from the IRS and then used these EFINs to electronically file the fraudulent returns. The conspirators directed the refunds to debit cards as well as treasury checks mailed to various addresses. The refund checks were cashed at different check cashing stores and funds were withdrawn from the debit cards at Western Union locations and ATMs.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 14. Destine faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Greenberg commended special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Karadbil and Assistant Chief Greg Tortella of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.