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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 22, 2014

Pembroke Pines Resident Sentenced to 87 Months in Identity Theft Tax Refund 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), and J. Scott Dennis, Chief, North Miami Beach Police Department, announce that Jude Estama, 42 of Pembroke Pines, Florida, was sentenced to 87 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $759,992 in restitution.

Estama previously pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.

According to court documents, from January 2008 through August 2012, Estama engaged in an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme. In furtherance of the scheme, the defendant opened and controlled bank accounts at various banks in his own name and in the name of two corporations that listed him as president. Estama caused fraudulent individual income tax returns to be filed with the IRS using the identity information primarily of high school students and deceased persons. The defendant caused over $700,000 in refund monies to be direct deposited to the bank accounts he controlled, and he withdrew money from these refunds for his own personal use and benefit.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. The case was 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 http://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 http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated March 18, 2015