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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 29, 2016

Former Car Dealership Employee Sentenced for her Participation in a Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme

Defendant stole customer information to promote tax fraud scheme

A Jensen Beach resident was sentenced to 30 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release 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 previously convicted at trial 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 from Eppolito to resell for a 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.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and thanked the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office for its assistance.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Theodore Cooperstein and Courtney L. Coker.

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(s): 
StopFraud
Updated August 30, 2016