Broward County father and daughter were arrested today for charges related to filing fraudulent lottery ticket tax refund claims that collectively sought in excess of $175,000,000.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael J. De Palma, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Fred Stolper, Special Agent in Charge, Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), Miami Field Office, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and James S. Jackson, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), made the announcement.
A criminal complaint unsealed today charged Danielle Takeila Edmonson (“D. Edmonson”), 35, of Boynton Beach, and Kenneth Roger Edmonson (“K. Edmonson”), 50, of Oakland Park, with filing false claims, mail fraud, and false statements. K. Edmonson will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick M. Hunt, on Friday, April 5, for his pretrial detention hearing. D. Edmonson will make her initial appearance tomorrow, April 3, before Judge Hunt.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, from 2015 through 2018 (the “relevant period”), D. Edmonson and K. Edmonson filed lottery ticket tax refund claims with the IRS totaling approximately $175 million, including individual refund claims ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to as high as eighty million dollars. Despite the false nature of the claims, the Department of Treasury paid out approximately $3.4 million in refunds through the issuance of U.S. Treasury checks.
According to the affidavit, D. Edmonson filed a fraudulent tax return seeking a large refund for tax year 2014 falsely indicating on handwritten forms that she had paid taxes of over $300,000. The IRS did not receive any corresponding records indicating that D. Edmonson had actually paid these taxes. Despite the false nature of the tax return, the Department of Treasury issued a tax refund check for $239,700 in 2015. D. Edmonson deposited this tax refund check into her bank account and used the funds to purchase a BMW and make large cash withdrawals.
According to the affidavit, D. Edmonson filed fraudulent tax returns for each of tax years 2015, 2016, and 2017, seeking refunds of approximately $80 million, $2.4 million, and $9 million, respectively. These tax returns contained forms falsely claiming that D. Edmonson had paid over $145 million in taxes during this period. The IRS did not receive any corresponding forms to support the payment of any of these taxes. Despite the false nature of the tax returns, on September 4, 2017, the Department of Treasury issued a tax refund check to D. Edmonson in the amount of $2,405,703. D. Edmonson subsequently deposited this tax refund check into her bank account.
According to the affidavit, K. Edmonson filed a fraudulent tax return in September 2017 seeking a refund of approximately $725,111. The return contained false and fraudulent claims that K. Edmonson had paid a substantial amount of withholding taxes. The IRS did not receive corresponding forms to support the claimed payments. Despite the false nature of the tax return, on January 28, 2018, the Department of Treasury mailed a tax refund check to K. Edmonson for $734,266.27 (including $9,036.27 in interest). Shortly thereafter, K. Edmonson deposited this tax refund check into his bank account.
According to the affidavit, in January 2018, IRS agents conducted a search of the defendants’ residence. During the search, in D. Edmonson’s bedroom, law enforcement found a letter from the Department of Treasury, dated June 2017, advising her that her tax refund claims are “worthless . . . [and] akin to a fraud” and handwritten “wish list” by D. Edmonson asking for a “refund check in the amount of $80,112.167.” In addition, during the search, IRS agents advised K. Edmonson of the fraudulent nature of his tax return. Shortly after law enforcement left, K. Edmonson went to his bank to attempt to withdraw the funds from the account that received the fraudulent refund check.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud and five years in prison for each count of filing false claims and false statements.
Ms. Fajardo Orshan thanked IRS-CI, DSS, FBI, and TIGTA for their work on the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.