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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 12, 2014

Lorain Man Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Identity Theft and Tax Fraud

A Lorain man was sentenced to four years in prison for identity theft and tax schemes in which he claimed fraudulent tax refunds of more than $121, 000, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.

Brent R. Willis was previously found guilty of one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Willis fraudulently obtained the identities of 57 people, without their knowledge or permission, from various sources, between January and April 2013. He then purchased approximately 57 prepaid debit cards in their names at stores in and around Lorain, according to court documents.

Willis prepared 57 false personnel income tax returns in the names of the identity theft victims, claiming false refunds in the total amount of $121,061.

“Identity theft is a contemptible modern-day scourge,” Enstrom said. “Law enforcement officers respond to it with every legal resource available.  Let this sentence serve as a warning to those who are considering similar conduct.”

This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John M. Siegel and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren A. Bell.

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Updated March 19, 2015