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Press Release

Two Tampa Men Sentenced For Tax Fraud And Identity Theft Conspiracy

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

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington today sentenced Kareem Spann and Cedrick Brown to 7 years, and 10 years and 4 months, in federal prison, respectively, for theft of government property and identity theft stemming from their involvement in a Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) conspiracy. The Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $412,758.84, the amount of the proceeds of the criminal conduct.

Spann pleaded guilty on October 7, 2015, and Brown pleaded guilty on October 14, 2015.

According to court documents, Spann, Brown and others engaged in a conspiracy and scheme to steal identities, file fraudulent federal income tax returns, obtain tax refunds in the names of the identity theft victims, and share in the proceeds. On September 7, 2013, Tampa Police Department officers went to a Tampa residence in an attempt to locate suspects related to a shooting investigation. At the residence, officers recovered ammunition, H&R Block prepaid/reloadable debit cards, a backpack containing more than 20 prepaid or reloadable debit cards, and paperwork listing numerous names and Social Security numbers (“PII”). Both Spann’s and Brown’s fingerprints were found on multiple pages of a notebook containing PII found inside the backpack. The investigators also seized computers and tables that had been used to electronically file federal income tax returns.

The next day, Spann was identified as the driver of a parked car, along with Brown and others, in front of the same Tampa residence. A search of the car revealed a piece of paper with a list of names and Social Security numbers, which appeared to be a printout of medical records. An H&R Block prepaid card was also recovered, along with a loaded Glock handgun, a 30-round magazine, loose marijuana, $1036 in cash from an occupant, and five cellular smart phones. Further investigation revealed that Spann, Brown, and their co-conspirators had used the debit cards at various locations.

The Internal Revenue Service determined that these conspirators and others had filed fraudulent tax returns for the 2011 and 2012 tax years, claiming refunds totaling $2,317,095 and receiving refunds in the amount of $412,326.42. The conspirators used the stolen PII of over 250 victims.

This case was investigated by the Tampa Police Department and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mandy Riedel.

Updated February 4, 2016