Three Men Indicted On Federal Charges Of Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns Related To Identity Theft
Fort Myers, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the unsealing of an eight count indictment charging Desmond Holden, Kinjonah Coston, and Octavis Jones with conspiracy to prepare fraudulent tax returns, theft of public money, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison for each of the conspiracy and theft of public money offenses, and a consecutive minimum sentence of two years' imprisonment for each aggravated identity charge. The indictment also notifies the defendants that the United States intends to forfeit all assets, which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses.
According to the indictment, Holden, Coston, and Jones participated in a scheme to fraudulently obtain federal income tax refunds by preparing and filing false tax returns. They filed these returns in the names of people whose identities they had stolen, by obtaining the victims' Social Security numbers and other identifiers. The defendants would then direct the money from the fraudulent refunds to be deposited onto debit cards, or money orders, which they would then convert to their personal use.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, with assistance and cooperation from the Highlands County Sheriff's Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Douglas Molloy.