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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Broward County Resident Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme Involving the Use of Unauthorized Debit Card Account Numbers

A Broward County resident was sentenced to 24 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for his involvement in an identity theft tax fraud scheme involving the trafficking in, use, and possession of unauthorized debit card account numbers. 

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Dan Giustino, Chief, Pembroke Pines Police Department, made the announcement.  

Maraldy Necker Jean, 39, previously pled guilty to one count of trafficking in and using one or more unauthorized access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(2), and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).

According to court documents, fraudulent tax returns were filed using the names and Social Security numbers of individuals without their permission.  On February 6, 2014, Jean and co-defendant Wilna Joseph, 36, of Broward County, drove to a Wells Fargo Bank in Pembroke Pines, and Joseph attempted to withdraw cash from the ATM using a debit card encoded with an account number belonging to one of the tax return victims.  The defendants then drove to a Citibank, located in Pembroke Pines, where Joseph made four withdrawals, totaling approximately $1,200.00, using a debit card encoded with an account number belonging to another one of the tax return victims. 

At the time of their arrest, on February 6, 2014, the defendants, between them, had fifteen unauthorized debit cards registered in the names of other persons. The debit cards had been funded with fraudulently obtained federal income tax refunds totaling approximately $76,249.20.

Wilna Joseph was sentenced on November 18, 2016 to 10 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, the FBI, and the Pembroke Pines Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daya Nathan and Jonathan K. Osborne and Special Assistant United States Attorney Tyler Jett. 

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Topic: 
Financial Fraud
Tax
Updated December 7, 2016