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Justice News

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Second Individual Convicted In False Claims Conspiracy

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Earl Rojelio Blanchett, Jr. (37, Tampa) to 10 years and 4 months in federal prison for tax fraud charges, including charges of aggravated identity theft.  As part of his sentence, the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $22,500.

Blanchett pleaded guilty to all fourteen counts of the indictment on October 29, 2013.

According to court documents and statements made at the sentencing hearing, in June and July 2013, Blanchett sold seven United States Treasury checks, with a face value of over $77,000, at a discounted price, to undercover law enforcement agents. These Treasury checks were issued as a result of tax returns filed in the names individuals who were victims of identity theft. The victims either did not authorize the filing of those returns, the issuance and cashing of the resulting Treasury checks, and/or confirmed that the Treasury checks were fraudulently and falsely endorsed in their names. Personal identifying information related to some of the stolen identities was found in a search of Blanchett’s residence, where he lived with his girlfriend. Inside the residence, agents also found thousands of other individuals’ personal identifying information in computers, ledgers and notebooks, along with notes about the filing of tax returns, debit cards, passwords, and user names. The information totaled over $7 million, with nearly $3 million confirmed by the IRS.  

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Tampa Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen.

Updated January 26, 2015