Two Broward County residents pled guilty for their involvement in a stolen identity tax fraud scheme.
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), Brian Swain, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, and Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), made the announcement.
Stacy A. Gaines, 39, and Nicaya T. Cooper, 35, both of Tamarac, each pled guilty to one count of mail fraud conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. As part of their plea agreements, Gaines and Cooper agreed to restitution in the amounts of $266,866.39 and $284,162.49, respectively. At sentencing, the defendants each face a maximum statutory sentence of twenty years in prison.
According to court documents, Cooper opened two bank accounts and gave Gaines access to those accounts to deposit various fraudulent tax refunds. Gaines also opened a bank account in her name for the purpose of depositing additional fraudulent tax refunds. From February 2010 through May 2013, Gaines mailed 139 fraudulent tax returns to the IRS seeking refunds in the amount of $299,433.88 by utilizing the personal identification information (PII) of various individuals. Gaines and Cooper received approximately $279,866.39 in fraudulent refunds from the IRS based upon the fraudulent returns. The true taxpayers did not give Gaines or Cooper permission to file fraudulent tax returns on their behalf.
Gaines is scheduled to be sentenced on March 22, 2016 at 1:15 p.m. and Cooper is scheduled to be sentenced on March 31, 2016 at 1:15 p.m., both before U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, the USSS South Florida Organized Fraud Task Force (SFOTF), and BSO. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia E. Shick.