You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Former Prison Guard Sentenced To 3 Years For Identity Theft Of Inmates For Purposes Of Filing Illegal Tax Returns

CHICAGO — a former Miami Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation prison guard was sentenced today to 36 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Norgle for his role in a scheme involving theft of prison inmates’ identities which were used to file false tax returns.

The defendant, CORNELIUS CRUMITY, pleaded guilty in May 2014, to one count each of aggravated identity theft and mail fraud in a two-count information, admitting that beginning in January 2008 and continuing through April 2011, he stole at least 50 inmate identities and filed fraudulent federal income taxes, attempting to cause the IRS to issue refunds in amounts totaling approximately $356,000. As a result of his conduct, the defendant caused the United States Treasury to suffer loss of at least $55,888. Judge Norgle also imposed a period of one year supervision after his release. Crumity has been ordered to report to the Bureau of Prisons on July 1, 2015.

Crumity, 39, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, was employed by the Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (the “MDCDC”) as a prison guard. In that position, defendant had access to MDCDC databases and records which included the personal information of inmates, such as names and social security numbers. At various times, without the knowledge or authority of the MDCDC, the defendant accessed and copied the names and social security numbers of inmates who were incarcerated by the MDCDC, and used their names and social security numbers to file false and fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. Crumity filed the false and fraudulent tax returns without the knowledge or authorization of the inmates whose personal identifying information he had obtained from the MDCDC.

When preparing and filing the fraudulent tax returns, Crumity knowingly included false and fabricated W-2s, and false employer, wage and withholding information designed to result in significant tax withholding refunds to the purported filers, generally between $5,600 and $6,100 per return. In addition, he provided false home addresses for the purported filers, where defendant or his co-schemer in Illinois, David Mobley, received mail. In addition, in some instances, defendant caused the United States Treasury to credit the fraudulent tax withholding refunds to debit cards possessed by him or Mobley. After the defendant received the fraudulently issued refunds, he used the funds to his own benefit.

“Few crimes cause greater harm to society than law enforcement corruption,” stated Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hayes in the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum. “These ill effects are compounded when committed in a correctional institution, sending a message to inmates that directly contradicts the government’s goals of rehabilitation and reform.”

The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Tony Gomez, Postal Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Chicago; and Stephen Boyd, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hayes.

Updated July 23, 2015