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Justice News

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Miami-Dade County Resident Sentenced for Identity Theft Fraud Scheme Involving $322,000 in Cashed Tax Refund Checks

A Miami-Dade County resident was sentenced to 37 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $322,617.31, for his participation in an identity theft fraud scheme involving 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 Neil Melofchik, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

Eldridge Nichols, 41, of Miami, previously pled guilty to one count of theft of government money.

According to court documents, from February 2011 to January 2012, the defendant 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.

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.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. 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.

Identity Theft
Updated June 30, 2015