Tampa Man Sentenced To Nearly Six Years In Federal Prison For Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Demetrius Wright to 5 years and 10 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, aggravated identify theft, wire fraud, filing false claims, and theft of government funds. As part of his sentence, the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $165,317, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct. Wright pleaded guilty on August 6, 2015.
According to court documents, from as early as February 1, 2012, through on or about December 19, 2014, Wright participated in a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. During a search his home, law enforcement found notebooks containing the personally identifying information (PII) of others, none of who had provided that information to Wright. Also found in Wright’s home were documents from the Tampa Veterans Affairs hospital, which contained additional PII. As part of the scheme, over 500 tax returns were filed from laptops associated with Wright, requesting more than $3.6 million in fraudulent tax refunds.
Donald Bethell was also prosecuted for his role in this scheme. On August 31, 2015, he was sentenced to four months in federal prison for theft of government funds.
This case was investigated by 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 Attorney Adam M. Saltzman.