Tampa Man Pleads Guilty In Tax Fraud Scheme
Tampa, FL - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Larry Lee Northern, Jr. (29, Tampa) has pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. Northern faces a maximum penalty of 12 years in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, on October 6, 2011, Northern was stopped by law enforcement officers for excessive speeding. During the traffic stop, he was found to be in possession of illegal narcotics and various prepaid debit cards. Specifically, Northern possessed 15 prepaid debit cards in the names of various individuals, as well as multiple Wal-Mart Money Cards, for a total of 32 separate cards. In addition, Northern had internal corporate documents from a local healthcare company. The documents contained the personal identification information of 32 individuals. The individuals were later identified as current or former clients of the healthcare company. Northern also had $15,700.00 in cash.
Subsequent investigation determined that 12 of the 15 prepaid cards were credited with U.S. Treasury income tax refunds. The refunds on the prepaid cards, totaling $93,879.00, were obtained as a result of the filing of fraudulent income tax returns. The fraudulent returns were filed in the names of individuals who reportedly had not given Northern permission to file the returns for them. Of the 17 Wal-Mart Money Cards possessed by Northern, nine of the cards had a total of $65,463.00 loaded onto them. These were also determined to be the proceeds of fraudulently filed income tax returns. Based upon Northern’s possession of the 32 cards and cash, the total loss to the government was $175,042.00.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda C. Kaiser.