West Palm Beach Man Pleads Guilty to Laundering, Gambling, and Prostitution Proceeds, and Evading Taxes
A Miami-Dade County resident pled guilty to stealing tax refunds totaling $1,428,027.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Franklin Adderley, Chief, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, made the announcement.
Bobby Cooks, 40, pled guilty to one count of theft of government money, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. As part of his plea agreement, the defendant agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $1,428,027. At sentencing, Cooks faces a maximum statutory sentence of ten years in prison.
According to court documents, between 2011 and 2014, Cooks received three United States Treasury tax refunds totaling $1,428,027 based on fraudulent tax returns filed with the IRS. Specifically, on March 11, 2011, Cooks received a tax refund in the amount of $528,071.33 based on a false 2010 tax return filed in Cooks’ name. The tax return claimed significant gambling winnings from, and tax withheld by, a casino. In fact, Cooks won no such money, no such tax was withheld, and the Form W2-G attached to the tax return showing the purported winnings was fake.
Court documents also state that on November 22, 2013, Cooks received a U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $332,534 based on a fraudulent tax return filed in another individual’s name. Cooks obtained a Florida driver’s license in the name of the individual using a fake Georgia birth certificate, and opened bank accounts in the victim’s name where Cooks then deposited the fraudulent tax refund check. On September 23, 2014, Cooks received another U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $567,422 based on a 2011 fraudulent tax return filed in the name of Cooks’ father who had the same name as Cooks and who had been deceased since 2008. Cooks deposited the check in a bank account that he set up in his name.
Cooks is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. before United States District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. Gonsoulin.