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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Five Defendants Sentenced in Extensive Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

Five defendants were sentenced for their participation in an extensive stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement.

Ronald Jerome Scriven was sentenced to 108 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $7,521,485.  Danesa Latoya Webb was sentenced to 54 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,271,603.  The defendants each previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286, one count of misusing Social Security numbers, in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 408(a)(8), and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).

On January 28, 2016, co-defendant Walter Waitus Pressley was sentenced to 31 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,361,326.  Michael Dwight Brown, a/k/a “Big Mike,” was sentenced to 24 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $340,976.  On February 2, 2016, Fritznel Jacques, a/k/a “Glacier,” was sentenced to 18 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $493,733.  Each of the defendants previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. 

According to court documents, Scriven created nine business entities, seven of which were tax preparation businesses using his name, the names of co-conspirators, or the names of individuals whose identities were stolen.  Scriven, Webb and others obtained electronic filing identification numbers (EFINs) from the IRS for the seven tax preparation businesses for the purpose of electronically submitting false tax returns. Scriven, Webb and Pressley recruited taxpayers and obtained their personal identifying information (PII), such as their names and Social Security numbers, for the purpose of submitting false tax returns to the IRS.  Scriven and Webb also used the PII of living and deceased individuals for the same fraudulent purpose.  Tax preparers’ fees and other fees totaling $700,000 were deducted from the tax refunds and were deposited into bank accounts controlled by the co-conspirators.

Scriven and Webb printed refund checks in the names of taxpayers whose names and Social Security numbers were used to file the false tax returns. Some of the co-conspirators accompanied taxpayers, whose identities they had used to file false tax returns, to cash the refund checks and would then demand a substantial portion of the proceeds obtained from those cashed checks. 

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lois Foster-Steers.   

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: 
Identity Theft
Tax
Updated February 10, 2016