Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Office, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Regina James, 39, of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced for her participation in a check cashing and stolen identity scheme. James was sentenced to 66 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $650,617.00.
Regina James previously pled guilty in three cases. In one case, she pled guilty to one count of theft of public money, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). In the second case, she pled guilty to conspiracy to steal, receive, and retain money and things of value of the United States and to forge endorsements on and cash treasury checks, receipt and retention of things of value of the United States, and aggravated identity theft. In the third case, she pled guilty to identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028(a)(7).
According to court documents, Wilson and Kate Lau owned a check cashing store called American Quick Cash (AQC). The Laus were cashing fraudulent tax refund checks arising out of fraudulent tax refund filings containing stolen identities. James was one of the seven “middle men” who brought the fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks to AQC. James also brought fake Florida driver’s licenses in the names of the individuals on the checks that she cashed at AQC. James was charged 15% to cash the fraudulent checks, but Lau subsequently increased the fee to 50%. James received the stolen checks from another person and gave 40% of the amount of the check to that individual, and kept 10% for herself.
From January 2010 through June 2011, the total amount of U.S. Treasury checks cashed by James at AQC is approximately $650,617. The number of victims involved is greater than 50, but fewer than 250.
On July 20, 2012, Wilson Lau, 75, and his wife, Kate Yuee Lau, 54, formerly of Coral Springs, were sentenced before U.S. District Judge Robert Scola. Wilson Lau was sentenced to 84 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Kate Yuee Lau was sentenced to 24 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
In a separate investigation, James and co-defendants, Ronald Walker, 36, of Fort Lauderdale, Aaron Taylor, 30, of Lauderhill, and James Burch, 36, of Coral Springs, sold $75,108.79 in fraudulently obtained tax refund checks and 609 people’s identifying information. On May 30, 2014, Walker was sentenced to 94 months in prison. On May 16, 2014, Taylor was sentenced to 54 months in prison and Burch was sentenced to 36 months in prison.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, the Secret Service, and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alicia E. Shick and Marc Osborne.
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.