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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 8, 2015

Tampa Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison For Engaging In Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington has sentenced Rosa Moultry Martin to five years in federal prison for mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.  The Court also ordered Martin to forfeit $153,219 and two luxury cars, which are traceable to proceeds of the offense. She pleaded guilty on December 2, 2014.

According to court documents, in May 2012, postal employees at the New Tampa Post Office reported to law enforcement that numerous pieces of mail bearing the label “Turbo Tax,” and addressed to at least 10 different individuals, were scheduled to be delivered to Martin’s residence in Tampa. On June 7, 2012, investigators made a controlled delivery of two of these envelopes to Martin’s curbside mailbox.  The envelopes, which contained prepaid debit cards, were addressed to J.H. and D.H. Neither of these individuals resided at the address.

Investigators learned that the prepaid debit cards issued to J.H. and D.H. were each loaded with a fraudulently obtained tax refund in the amount of $9,919. Further investigation revealed that a debit card was opened in the name of D.H. using his actual date of birth and social security number.  This debit card was used at an ATM in Zephyrhills on June 7, 2012, to make three simultaneous cash withdrawals totaling $1,000.  These successive transactions were captured on the ATM’s video and show Martin making the withdrawals. She also made additional withdrawals using another reloadable debit card containing a fraudulently obtained tax refund.

On June 26, 2012, a search warrant was executed at Martin’s home. Evidence seized during the search included a laptop and desktop computer, more than 50 prepaid debit cards issued in other names, print-outs from a genealogy website containing personally identifiable information (PII), and numerous ledgers containing PII, account information, passwords, and email addresses.  The search also lead to the recovery of receipts for money orders that had been purchased with fraudulently obtained tax refunds and used by Martin to pay for her rent and other items. A subsequent search of Martin, her husband, and her vehicle revealed several items, including an iPad, a tablet, cell phones, and approximately $25,000 worth of jewelry. Forensic examinations of the computers and tablets revealed Internet search history for tax-related websites and the PII of at least 20 individuals.

In total, investigators have determined that Martin possessed and used the PII of approximately 76 victims, without their permission, to file fraudulent tax returns and/or receive refunds resulting from the filing of fraudulent tax returns.  Investigators determined that Martin, working alone and with others, made false claims for refunds totaling approximately $641,754 and received approximately $153,219 to which she was not entitled.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Tampa Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mandy Riedel.

Topic(s): 
Identity Theft
Tax
Component(s): 
Updated February 4, 2016