Tampa Man Sentenced To More Than Seven Years For Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore yesterday sentenced Alexander Lenox to 7 years and 6 months in federal prison for theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Lenox pleaded guilty on December 31, 2013.
According to court documents, Lenox engaged in stolen identity refund fraud from April 2009 to May 2011, with two co-conspirators. In particular, in May 2011, Lenox was responsible for renting two hotel rooms where lists of identifying information and prepaid debit cards containing fraudulently-obtained tax refunds were found. Also found in both rooms were medical records that had been stolen from the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, containing the identifying information of U.S. veterans. Lenox was later captured by surveillance video at various locations withdrawing money from the debit cards with the fraudulently-obtained tax refunds on them. At sentencing, he was found responsible for fraudulent tax returns requesting more than $400,000 of government funds and victimizing more than fifty people.
After the sentencing hearing, Special Agent in Charge Monty Stokes, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said "This case is the collective work of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to aggressively pursue those that commit identity theft. The fact that Lenox chose to victimize veterans is reprehensible."
"Alexander Lenox's sentencing of 7 ½ years is the result of the collaborative investigative effort of the Tampa Bay Alliance. Let this sentence be a warning to those individuals who continue to exploit members of our community and veterans," stated James Robnett, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. "IRS-Criminal Investigation and its partners will continue to investigate individuals, such as Lenox, who commit stolen identify refund fraud (SIRF)."
Lenox’s co-conspirators, James Early Smiley and Hantz Saint Marc, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in this case. On August 12, 2013, Smiley was sentenced to 61 months in federal prison. A sentencing hearing for Saint Marc is set for May 20, 2014.
This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Tampa Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sara C. Sweeney.