Nine Defendants Sentenced in $11.1 Million Tax Refund and Food Stamp Fraud Conspiracy
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Nine defendants have been sentenced for conspiracy, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft. The sentences were announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
The defendants and sentences are:
John Walter Simmons, 35, Tampa, Florida, 168 months in prison;
Daria Patrice Simmons, 34, Tampa, Florida, 65 months in prison;
Jazzman Shabazz Simmons, 27, Tallahassee, Florida, 65 months in prison;
Anre’ Juardon Davis, 34, St. Petersburg, Florida, 36 months in prison;
Rashard LaVonta McMillian, 27, Quincy, Florida, 36 months in prison;
Ronald Edward Brown, 28, Quincy, Florida, 30 months in prison;
Addrain Montez McMillan, 30, Overland Park, Kansas, 18 months in prison;
Ja’baree Vazquez Allen, 27, Tallahassee, Florida, 3 years of probation, 600 hours community service;
Mercedes Shevon Sutton, 25, Tampa, Florida, 3 years of probation, 300 hours of community service; and
Jasmine Junae Robinson, 26, Tallahassee, Florida, sentencing hearing scheduled for August 19, 2016.
During their guilty pleas in February 2016, the defendants admitted that they conspired to file fraudulent income tax returns using stolen personal identifying information (PII) from approximately 2,800 individuals. The PII sources included an insurance provider, an online database, and an area hospital. The stolen PII was used to file 1,466 fraudulent income tax returns, claiming refunds of approximately $11.1 million and resulting in $2,695,253 being issued by the IRS. During their pleas, Sutton, John Simmons, and Jazzman Simmons also acknowledged their involvement in a scheme to file fraudulent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications. Between August 2013 and January 2014, stolen PII was used to electronically submit 165 fraudulent food stamp applications, seeking $176,704 in benefits.
“These conspirators stole the personal information of thousands of real victims and used their identities to fraudulently obtain millions of dollars from government programs and lawful taxpayers,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Canova. “I commend our law enforcement partners for their hard work investigating this case.
“This case is a good example of the continuing efforts of IRS Criminal Investigation and our local law enforcement partners working in concert to combat identity theft,” said Kimberly A. Lappin, Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa Field Office for IRS Criminal Investigation. “This crime can make honest taxpayers face a more difficult time obtaining their lawful refund or bring more pain to the families whose deceased relative was also a victim. This sentence demonstrates that criminals will have a price to pay for their roles in perpetrating these crimes.”
This case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Tallahassee Police Department, and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Jason R. Coody prosecuted the case.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.
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