You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 30, 2015

Three Defendants Sentenced for Their Involvement in Extensive Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

Three defendants were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard for their involvement in an extensive tax refund fraud scheme.  Vory V. Copeland, of Miramar, was sentenced to 111 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay joint and several restitution in the amount of $911,539.  Marlan L. Copeland, of Miramar, was sentenced to 72 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.  Brannoc K. Rudd, of Miami Gardens, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.  The three defendants were held jointly and severally liable for restitution.  Vory Copeland was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $911,539.  Marlan Copeland and Brannoc Rudd were each ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $285,834.

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 Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

After a seven-day trial, a federal jury convicted Vory Copeland of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, three counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and three counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).

After a separate ten-day trial, a federal jury convicted Marlan Copeland and Brannoc Rudd of one count of conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.  Marlan Copeland was also convicted of five counts of theft of government property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, and five counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).

Evidence presented at the trials revealed that between January 2010 and April 2010, Vory Copeland and his co-conspirators filed over 150 fraudulent tax returns, including tax returns that included stolen personal identification information.  The co-conspirators then cashed many of the fraudulently obtained tax refund checks at a Wachovia Bank in Miami Gardens, Florida.  Marlan Copeland and Rudd brought more than twenty checks into the bank, each check reflecting a tax refund issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.   At the bank, Marlan Copeland and Rudd cashed the checks and fraudulently obtained more than $100,000.00.  Although each check had been purportedly signed by the taxpayer, at trial the taxpayers identified the signatures at forgeries.

During the trials, individual victims whose personal identification information had been compromised testified that they had not authorized the defendants to file the fraudulent tax returns or cash the resulting tax refund checks.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the IRS-CI and the USSS.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Gonsoulin and John Byrne.

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.

Topic(s): 
Tax
Updated February 4, 2016