Broward County Resident Sentenced to More Than 5 Years in Prison for Identity Theft Schemes Involving Fraudulent Income Tax Refunds and Social Security Benefits
A Broward County resident was sentenced to 61 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $57,949, for his participation in identity theft schemes involving fraudulent income tax refunds and Social Security benefits.
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), Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, Thomas Caul, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of Inspector General (OIG), and Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), made the announcement.
Sheldon Mozie, II, 23, previously pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Mozie’s residence and seized papers/notes containing at least 182 victims’ personal identifying information (PII), a thumb drive containing at least 99 additional victims, Mozie’s computer, and debit cards. Computer forensic investigators determined that Mozie’s computer contained the PII of many of the same victims’ that were found in the notes/papers in Mozie’s bedroom, in addition to other victims’ PII. Mozie filed 49 federal income tax returns for tax year 2013 using the PII of many of the victims that were found on the papers/notes in his bedroom. Between February 10, 2014 and May 6, 2014, for the tax year 2013, Mozie claimed $208,559 on the fraudulent tax returns.
Mozie also utilized the stolen PII to divert Social Security benefit payments to himself that belonged to additional identity theft victims. To accomplish this scheme, Mozie logged onto the Social Security Administration website, “my Social Security,” with the victims’ names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers to open online accounts in those victims’ identities. Once the online accounts were opened, Mozie was able to divert the Social Security benefit payments from the victims to himself by having the funds deposited onto prepaid debit cards (mostly Green Dot cards) or by directly depositing the funds into his personal bank account. Between September 2013 and May 2014, Mozie diverted approximately $25,027 in Social Security benefits to himself.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, the USSS, SSA-OIG, and BSO. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia E. Shick.