Skip to main content
Press Release

Tampa Woman Sentenced To 11 Years For Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

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

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Charlene Honeywell has sentenced Eneshia Carlyle to 11 years and 6 months in federal prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  As part of her sentence, the court also entered a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $1,820,759 and an order of restitution in the same amount. Carlyle pleaded guilty on November 26, 2014.

According to court documents, Carlyle conspired with others to use the stolen personal identifying information of more than 7,000 individuals to file false tax returns and open pre-paid debit cards. From an unknown date in 2011, and continuing through November 2013, Carlyle, her husband James Cobb, and others, filed false tax returns claiming approximately $5 million in refunds.

During the execution of a search warrant at the home of Carlyle and Cobb, law enforcement officers recovered lists and medical records containing the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of more than 7,000 victims. The search also recovered more than 300 pre-paid debit cards opened in the names of those victims, as well as documents and computer files containing information on the filing of false tax returns. Many of the victims had their identities stolen from healthcare facilities, including from the James A. Haley VA hospital; the Florida Hospital (formerly known as University Community Hospital); ambulance services in Virginia, Georgia, and Texas; a local medical billing company; and court records. In addition, a number of deceased victims’ names were obtained from genealogy websites.

James Cobb previously pleaded guilty for his role in this scheme.  On June 19, 2015, he was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Tampa Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - Office of Inspector General, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the members of the Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance, including the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo and U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Timothy P. Loper of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Updated July 2, 2015