Tampa Man Sentenced To More Than Eight Years For Tax Fraud And Identity Theft
Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell today sentenced Andre Dwight Stewart to eight years and five months in federal prison for theft of government property and aggravated identity theft related to the filing of false federal income tax returns using stolen identities. The Court also ordered him to pay $230,005 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, which are the traceable proceeds to his offenses. Stewart pleaded guilty on June 21, 2016.
According to court documents, on July 11, 2013, officers with the Tampa Police Department searched a vehicle in which Stewart was a passenger. Pursuant to that search, agents recovered a red Swiss Gear laptop bag containing computers and notebooks, all of which belonged to Stewart. During a search of Stewart’s wallet, investigators recovered five reloadable debit cards, three of which were in Stewart’s name, and all of which had been loaded with fraudulently obtained tax refunds. Investigators also recovered ATM images showing Stewart withdrawing cash using these debit cards.
From inside Stewart’s bag, technicians found Stewart’s fingerprints on various pages of a composition notebook that contained 47 pieces of personally identifiable information (PII), including names, DOBs, and SSNs. Of these, at least nine income tax returns using this PII were filed for the 2011 tax year. Stewart’s fingerprints were also found on the inside cover of a Mario Kart/Wii themed notebook recovered from the computer bag. Agents identified approximately 27 pieces of PII contained in that notebook, of which four income tax returns using this PII were filed for the 2012 tax year.
Based on a review of the evidence, investigators determined that Stewart and others filed and caused to be filed fraudulent tax returns claiming over $600,000 in fraudulent refunds.
This case was investigated by the Tampa Police Department and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mandy Riedel.