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Press Release

Gibsonton Couple Indicted For Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

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

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Ynessa Brown and Thelonius Robertson with 10 counts of wire fraud, 1 count of conspiring to commit tax fraud, and 5 counts of aggravated identity theft.  Brown is also charged with 2 counts of filing false tax returns.  If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud, and up to 5 years’ imprisonment for each count of filing a false tax return and the conspiracy charge, to be followed by 2 years’ imprisonment on the identity theft counts.  The indictment also notifies Brown and Robertson that the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of $767,398, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.   

According to the indictment, from January 2012 through June 2013, Brown and Robertson possessed and used stolen identities, including those of deceased persons, to electronically file false and fraudulent tax returns.  They then directed the refunds from those fraudulent filings to debit cards, many in other people’s names. The debit cards were sent directly to Brown and Robertson, as well as to their friends and family, and to vacant addresses.  Brown and Robertson spent the fraudulently obtained tax refund monies at various retail locations and also obtained cash via ATM withdrawals.  In addition, Brown filed fraudulent tax returns in her name for 2011 and 2012, claiming more than $18,000 in refunds to which she was not entitled.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of one or more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless,  and until, proven guilty.    

This case was investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation.  It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen.

Updated October 23, 2015

Identity Theft