Manatee County Man Pleads Guilty To Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Ledale Johnson (51, Bradenton) has pleaded guilty to knowingly filing a false income tax return on behalf of another and aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison on the tax return count, to be followed by a consecutive two-year term for the aggravated identity theft count.
According to the plea agreement, Johnson participated in a scheme involving the filing of false tax returns claiming tax refunds from the IRS totaling more than $250,000. Nearly $60,000 was downloaded to prepaid debit cards, in other people’s names, as a result of those filings. On several dates between October 2011 and March 2012, Johnson was found to be in possession of unauthorized and counterfeit debit cards that had been loaded with fraudulently obtained tax refunds filed using stolen identities. Johnson also had filed a fraudulent tax return in his name and the name of another individual.
In November 2011, when law enforcement officers searched Johnson’s residence, officers seized personal identifying information belonging to others, multiple computers, and more than 100 user identification numbers associated with electronically filing tax returns.
This case was investigated by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Bradenton Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen.