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Press Release

Tampa Man Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison On Tax Fraud Charges

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

Tampa, Florida - U.S. District Judge James E. Whittemore sentenced James Earl Smiley (41, Tampa) yesterday to 5 years and one month in federal prison for committing stolen identity refund fraud. As part of his sentence, the court also entered a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $98,719.65, representing the proceeds of the offense.

Smiley pleaded guilty on March 6, 2013, to one count of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to the plea agreement and court documents, in October 2012, Smiley was stopped by the Tampa Police Department. He had several Turbo Tax Visa debit cards and receipts in his possession. The debit cards were not in Smiley's name, or in the name of his passenger. Further investigation revealed that the debit cards were funded with fraudulent tax return proceeds. On numerous occasions, Smiley was captured on video surveillance using the fraudulent debit cards. He admitted that the cards contained proceeds from fraudulently filed tax returns. None of the victims, including deceased individuals and others whose names appeared on the debit cards, had given Smiley or his passenger the authority to use their identities.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the Tampa Police Department, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, and the Collier County Sheriff's Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen.

Updated January 26, 2015