Manatee County Man Sentenced To More Than Four Years For Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
Tampa, Florida – United States District Judge Virginia Covington today sentenced Ledale Johnson (51, Bradenton) to four years and three months in federal prison on charges relating to tax refund fraud and identity theft. He also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $57,415 to the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the plea agreement and court documents, Johnson conspired with others in a scheme involving the filing of false tax returns that generated tax refunds, which were then downloaded onto prepaid debit cards in other people’s names, including deceased individuals. On several dates from October 2011 through March 2012, Johnson possessed and used unauthorized and counterfeit debit cards that had been loaded with fraudulent tax refunds. Funds from these fraudulent tax returns were withdrawn by Johnson at local ATMs, used to purchase money orders, or otherwise spent at local merchants on personal items. On two separate occasions, Johnson was found to be in possession of numerous fraudulent cards during traffic stops by law enforcement.
Attempts were made to file fraudulent income tax returns seeking refunds of more than $250,000, with nearly $58,000 obtained in fraudulent tax refunds.
This case was investigated by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Bradenton Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen. This case is part of an ongoing initiative dedicated to combating the growing problem of identity theft and the fraudulent filing of electronic tax claims.