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Press Release

Final Member of Identity Theft and Tax Conspiracy Sentenced to 37 Months

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Contact Person: Bill Watkins (864) 282-2100

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Kimberly J. Demata, age 30, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced today in federal court in Anderson, for to conspiracy to defraud the United States. United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain of Anderson sentenced Demata to 37 months imprisonment and ordered her to pay over $91,000 in restitution.  She is the last member of the conspiracy to be sentenced.  Earlier, Judge Cain sentenced Yeedser D. Palacios, age 33, Wandy A. Fabre, age 29, and Charles Law, age 28, all of Miami, Florida, to 75 months imprisonment, 54 months imprisonment, and 51 months imprisonment, respectively. 

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that in February 2013, Fabre, Palacios, and Charles Law traveled to South Carolina for the purpose of filing fraudulent income tax returns and receiving bogus refunds.  The three men rented a local hotel room and waited while Kimberly Demata sent them the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers that had been stolen.  The trio used this information to file tax returns and directed that the refunds, through H&R Block Bank, be sent to various addresses in Mauldin, South Carolina. Law, Fabre, and Palacios routinely checked mail boxes for the H&R Block debit cards containing the refund amount.  For returns that they filed using Florida addresses, Demata would check the mail boxes for the cards.

Law enforcement discovered the conspiracy when a citizen reported seeing a Ford Expedition stopping by various mail boxes in his neighborhood.  The Mauldin Police Department and U.S. Postal Inspectors conducted surveillance and arrested the three conspirators after watching them pull items from a local box.  Further investigation revealed that the conspirators filed over 60 fraudulent returns.  The average amount of refund claimed was between $5000 and $7000.  Law enforcement estimates that the conspiracy stole over $350,000 before the first arrests were made on March 15, 2013.

The case was investigated by agents of the Mauldin Police Department, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.


Updated March 24, 2015