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Press Release

Gibsonton Woman Sentenced For Aggravated Identity Theft Relating To Fraudulent Tax Returns

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

Tampa, FL – Senior U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara today sentenced Bernadette Demps (41, Gibsonton) to 2 years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft. In addition, the Court ordered her to serve a 1 year term of supervision, following her release from prison, and to pay restitution of over $34,000 to the United States Internal Revenue Service.

Demps pleaded guilty to the offense on April 25, 2014.

According to her plea agreement, in 2011, Demps received more than $43,000 in income tax refund checks into a business bank account which she controlled. All of these deposits were in the names of other individuals. Those direct deposits were all the result of fraudulent tax returns that had been filed a short time earlier with the IRS, using the names and personal identifying information relating to those persons. Demps withdrew the funds from her account almost immediately, either via ATM cash withdrawals or by other means.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the Clearwater Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.

Updated January 26, 2015