Tampa, Florida – United States District Judge James D. Whittemore has sentenced Latronda Brooks to three years and six months in federal prison for theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft in connection with income tax fraud. She was taken into custody immediately following the pronouncement of her sentence today. In addition, she was ordered to pay $327,521 in restitution, representing the proceeds of the tax fraud. She pleaded guilty on June 30, 2017.
According to court documents, Brooks opened an Urban Trust Bank account in her name, doing business as Magnificent Tax Services, and used it to deposit more than $327,000 in fraudulent tax refund checks. These fraudulent checks were falsely endorsed with the taxpayer signatures and deposited with a falsely-endorsed “permission” form that purportedly gave Brooks permission to deposit third-party tax refund checks into her bank account. Brooks spent the money on personal expenditures, including paying others involved in the tax fraud, and did not provide any of the funds to the taxpayers.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley Howard-Allen.