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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 7, 2014

Broward County Resident Sentenced In $2 Million Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Lee Ervin Dale, 31, of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced today for his participation in a tax refund scheme using stolen identities. United States District Judge Kathleen M. Williams sentenced Dale to 120 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered restitution in the amount of $275,740. A jury previously convicted Dale of two counts of converting government funds to his own use, six counts of making and presenting false claims to the IRS, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial and sentencing, Dale filed approximately 291 handwritten tax returns claiming more than $2 million in refunds between 2006 and 2009 using stolen identities and listing his P.O. Box address. Although the IRS was able to prevent refund checks from being issued on most of these claims, approximately $275,000 in refund checks were mailed to his P.O. Box. Several of these checks were deposited directly into bank accounts bearing both Dale’s name and the identity theft victim’s name. Other checks were cashed at a check cashing store in Oakland Park, Florida, in exchange for cash and money orders that Dale then deposited into his own accounts.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared M. Strauss and now-former Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurie E. Rucoba.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated March 12, 2015