Clay County Man Pleads Guilty To Aggravated Identity Theft, Fraud, And Tax Charges
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Christopher Leo Daragjati has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of theft of government property, over $1,000. Daragjati faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each wire fraud count, a mandatory minimum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment for each aggravated identity theft count, up to 10 years in prison on the charge of theft of government property, over $1,000 and payment of restitution to the victims he defrauded. Daragjati appeared in federal court on March 28, 2023, and the court subsequently ordered him detained. He is set for sentencing on October 26, 2023.
According to court documents, Daragjati obtained the personal identifiable information (PII) to include the Social Security number of multiple victims. In July 2022, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into an unknown individual, later identified as Daragjati, using stolen identities to commit fraud. Daragjati opened up commercial lines of credit with Sunbelt Rentals using the PII of victims. After renting thousands of dollars of equipment from Sunbelt Rentals, he pawned or stole the equipment. Daragjati’s actions caused a felony arrest warrant to be issued for an innocent victim. The Florida Highway Patrol – Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence, with assistance from other members of law enforcement, determined that Daragjati fraudulently obtained 26 genuine Florida driver licenses and identification cards.
Homeland Security Investigations also determined that Daragjati, using two fraudulently obtained Florida identification cards, applied for three Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in the identity of two victims. Unsuspecting lenders approved the three loan applications and Daragjati received approximately $150,000 in PPP loan proceeds.
The Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation determined that Daragjati submitted eight fraudulent federal tax returns using the stolen identities of six victims. The IRS approved one such tax refund and Daragjati received a refund of more than $3,000 in the identity of the victim.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office with valuable assistance provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol – Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Secret Service Jacksonville Field Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin C. Frein. AUSA Mai Tran is handling the asset forfeiture.
Updated July 24, 2023