Former Car Dealership Employee Convicted for her Participation in a Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
Defendant stole customer information to promote tax fraud scheme
Following a two-day trial before United States District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, a jury convicted a Jensen Beach resident for her participation in a stolen identity tax 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.
Micheline Eppolito, 29, of Jensen Beach, was convicted of one count of possessing fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, affecting interstate commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(3), and five counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(1).
According to evidence presented at trial, Eppolito worked at Treasure Coast Lexus car dealership on US 1 in Fort Pierce. Eppolito accessed and printed 44 automobile printouts, from a database shared by automobile dealerships, which contained 68 customers’ personal identifying information from a work computer located in her office. The defendant then sold the printouts to Patrick J. Ward [Case No. 14-CR-14006]. Ward paid Eppolito approximately $80 worth of oxycodone pills for the printouts.
According to court documents, a prison cell mate of Ward’s was interested in buying any Social Security numbers that Ward could come across to be used to prepare false tax returns. Ward admitted that he bought all the notebooks and papers to resell for profit.
On January 20, 2015, Ward was sentenced to 70 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Ward previously pled guilty to one count of possessing fifteen or more access devices and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Eppolito is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Court Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks on August 18, 2016. At sentencing, Eppolito faces up to ten years in prison for the access devices charge, and two years’ imprisonment, consecutive to any other prison term, for each of the aggravated identity theft charges.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and thanked the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Theodore Cooperstein and Courtney L. Coker.