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Press Release

Clearwater Man Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Tax Payer Refund Money

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

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Sylvester Banks, Jr. today pleaded guilty to theft of government funds. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, between April 2011 and March 2013, Banks received and deposited into his bank account approximately $755,900 in U.S. Treasury and other checks, which were all made payable to persons other than himself. Those checks were income tax refund checks that were the result of numerous false and fraudulently filed income tax returns. During an interview with federal agents in February 2015, Banks acknowledged that he had realized that the checks were fraudulent income tax refund proceeds, and that it was unlawful for him to have received and deposited them into his own account.

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

Updated June 19, 2015