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Press Release

Bradenton Woman Pleads Guilty To Role In Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – On January 16, 2019, Christabelle Crews (36, Tampa) pleaded guilty to theft of government funds. Crews faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Her sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

According to the facts presented at the plea hearing, Crews was involved in a scheme to deposit U.S. income tax refunds checks that the IRS had issued as the result of income tax returns fraudulently filed in the names of victim-taxpayers. Evidence showed that Crews had deposited a number of third-party tax refund checks with forged signatures of the victims, into a SunTrust bank account that she controlled between December 2012 and May 2013. The scheme resulted in the transmission of more than $56,000 in fraudulent income tax refund checks.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.

Updated January 28, 2019

Financial Fraud