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Press Release

Tampa Couple Indicted For Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the unsealing of a seventeen-count indictment charging Tressa V. Guy and Brian E. Simmons with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and multiple counts of wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison on the conspiracy count; twenty years in federal prison on each wire fraud count; and 10 years in federal prison on each charge of access device fraud, all to be followed by two consecutive years in prison for each aggravated identity theft count.

According to the indictment, Guy and Simmons participated in a scheme to defraud the United States Treasury that caused at least 322 fraudulent federal income tax returns to be filed with the IRS claiming at least $2,701,844 in fraudulent refunds. Guy, Simmons, and others would direct the fraudulent tax refunds into bank accounts linked to prepaid debit cards issued in the names of third parties without the third parties’ knowledge. Guy and Simmons also used the prepaid debit cards issued in this manner to make cash withdrawals in Florida and Georgia and to pay for personal expenditures.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, the Tampa Police Department, and the Monroe County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew J. Mueller and Trial Attorney Jason H. Poole of the Department of Justice, Tax Division.

Updated January 26, 2015