Florida Resident Sentenced to Prison for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
Used Stolen IDs to Seek More Than $2 Million in Fraudulent Refunds
A Miami-Dade County, Florida resident was sentenced to 70 months in prison for his role in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme, 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 and information provided to 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 Internal Revenue Service (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 The refund checks were cashed at different check cashing stores and funds were withdrawn from the debit cards at Western Union locations and ATMs.
In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno ordered Destine to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $2,108,000.00 in restitution to the IRS. Destine pleaded guilty in May 2017 to one count of a multi-object conspiracy to defraud the IRS, commit wire fraud and commit aggravated identity theft and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Acting 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 of the Southern District of Florida 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.