Miami-Dade County Resident Pleads Guilty in Identity Theft Fraud Scheme Involving $322,000 in Cashed Tax Refund Checks
A Miami-Dade County resident pled guilty for his participation in an identity theft fraud scheme involving $322,000 in cashed tax refund checks.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Paula A. Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Eldridge Nichols, 41, of Miami, pled guilty to one count of theft of government money. As part of his plea agreement, Nichols agreed to pay restitution in the amount of approximately $322,000.
According to court documents, from February 2011 to January 2012, Nichols had access to and control over a bank account in the name of Eldridge Nichols LLC in Miami, Florida. Nichols caused fraudulent tax refund checks to be deposited into this account. Approximately forty-three U.S. Treasury tax refund checks, totaling approximately $322,000, were cashed through this bank account. Nichols used the proceeds from the fraudulent tax refund checks for travel, clothing, entertainment, and other personal purposes.
Law enforcement contacted a sample of individuals who had a tax refund check in their name cashed in this account. All of the individuals advised that they did not know of the defendant, that they did not authorize Nichols to have possession of a tax refund check in their name, and that they did not personally receive any of the proceeds from this unauthorized tax refund.
Nichols is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga on June 29, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. At sentencing, Nichols faces a maximum of ten years in prison.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the USSS. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.