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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 29, 2018

Tampa Man Sentenced To More Than Nine Years In Federal Prison For Tax And Identity Theft Crimes

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington has sentenced Tyrone Devlin (30, Tampa) to nine years and eight months in federal prison for conspiracy, theft of government property, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, related to his involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme. The court ordered that this sentence be served consecutive to the 10-year prison term Devlin is currently serving in Florida state prison for unrelated crimes.  The court also ordered Devlin to repay the IRS $435,499, which are the proceeds from the conspiracy. Devlin had pleaded guilty on March 26, 2018.

According to court documents, between May 2012 and June 2013, Devlin, Marquis Thornton, and others conspired to commit tax fraud and identity theft offenses. As part of the conspiracy, they obtained stolen identities, including Department of Veterans Affairs medical records, and used them to file fraudulent federal income tax returns. The fraudulent tax returns claimed refunds to which the conspirators knew they were not entitled. Devlin, Thornton, and their coconspirators obtained debit cards issued and/or registered in their own and other people’s names and directed that the debit cards be loaded with the fraudulently obtained tax refunds. They then used the debit cards to make ATM withdrawals and for other purchases and shared in the proceeds of the fraud. The conspirators filed more than 400 fraudulent tax returns claiming refunds that totaled more than $2.5 million and received more than $435,000 in proceeds.

Thornton previously pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme and was sentenced to six years and six months in federal prison.

“Identity thieves represent one of the greatest evils of our time. The damage they inflict on individuals and our economy cannot be overstated,” stated Special Agent in Charge Mary Hammond of IRS Criminal Investigation. “Criminals should know we are paying attention. IRS Special Agents are uniquely qualified and distinctly engaged in spearheading the effort to bring those like Mr. Devlin to justice.  Devlin’s sentence buoys up the IRS mandate to protect the U.S. Treasury from would-be thieves, but, more importantly, this result we hope will provide some sense of relief to the victims.”

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, and the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Megan Kistler and Simon Gaugush.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Tax
Component(s): 
Updated June 29, 2018