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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Friday, May 16, 2014

Brandon Man Sentenced To More Than 7 Years For Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington yesterday sentenced Anthony R. Reeves to seven years and three months in federal prison for multiple counts of wire fraud, theft of government property, and aggravated identity theft. As part of his sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $69,585.59, a portion of the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.         

Reeves was found guilty on February 3, 2014, following a bench trial.

According to court documents, on May 8, 2012, Reeves was stopped by a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Trooper for speeding and other traffic infractions. After a drug canine alerted on the vehicle, the car was searched. During the search, the trooper found a backpack that contained a laptop, a plastic bag containing 35 debit cards, multiple cell phones, a notebook, and 54 medical records from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) James A. Haley Hospital in Tampa.  The notebook contained lists of names, social security numbers, email addresses, credit card numbers, and cell phone numbers. The VA medical records contained the names and SSNs of patients. In total, Reeves had the personal identifying information (PII) of 69 veterans and 52 others in his possession. Reeves admitted that he purchased VA medical records from someone whom he knew who worked at the VA, and used the information to file fraudulent tax returns. 

Law enforcement conducted an analysis of the laptop, which revealed that it had been used to access numerous debit card accounts in the names of the victims. The IRS then conducted an analysis of the returns associated with Reeves, based on the files on the computer and the identifiers found in his possession. Specifically, Reeves filed at least 71 fraudulent tax returns from tax years 2010 and 2011.  

Special Agent in Charge Monty Stokes, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said, “This case was the result of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies aggressively pursuing those who commit identity theft. Reeves is no stranger to the criminal justice system. This 7 year, 3 month sentence will hopefully be a deterrent for others, and give him some time to consider if it was really worth it.”

“Yesterday’s sentencing of Mr. Reeves is the final culmination of years of investigation, hard work and the combined efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol,” stated Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Steve Gaskins.  “An alert Florida State Trooper conducting routine traffic enforcement, who looked beyond the traffic stop for criminal activity, has led to a highly successful conclusion whereby citizens and especially veterans benefit tremendously.” 

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, and the Florida Highway Patrol. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sara C. Sweeney.

Updated January 26, 2015