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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Orlando Man Sentenced to More Than 27 Years for Stealing Retirement Funds and Insurance Proceeds and for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns

Orlando, Florida – United States District Judge Roy B. Dalton, Jr. has sentenced Joseph Witchard (56, Orlando) to 27 years and 7 months in federal prison for mail fraud, filing false claims against the United States, theft of government property, and aggravated identity theft. The Court also ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $145,673.83 to his victims. A federal jury found Witchard guilty on November 4, 2014.

According to evidence presented at trial, Witchard orchestrated two mail fraud schemes, one to steal retirement funds and life insurance proceeds, and another to file fraudulent tax returns. During both schemes, he used identities that had been stolen from a variety of sources. The personal identifying information of more than 60 victims was found during a search of Witchard’s residence in February 2010. Witchard, and others, negotiated the retirement, life insurance, and tax refund checks at local businesses, including car dealerships.

IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James D. Robnett said, “Individuals who commit refund fraud and identity theft of this magnitude and with this degree of dishonesty and deceit, deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Mr. Witchard has been victimizing the citizens of Florida and the United States for decades as shown by his previous convictions for tax related crimes. IRS Criminal Investigation, along with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney's Office, remain vigilant in identifying, investigating and prosecuting these types of individuals.”

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, IRS - Criminal Investigation, and the United States Secret Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney E. Jackson Boggs, Jr.

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Updated February 5, 2015