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Press Release

Two Miami-Dade County Residents Pled Guilty in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme Involving Deceased and Other Individuals’ Personal Identifying Information

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

Two Miami-Dade County residents pled guilty for their participation in an identity theft tax fraud scheme using deceased and other individuals’ personal identifying information (PII).

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), Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), and J. Scott Dennis, Chief, North Miami Beach Police Department (NMBPD), made the announcement.

Joshua Chikudo, 40, and Curtis Joseph, a/k/a “CJ,” 36, both of Miami-Dade, each pled guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Chikudo also pled guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.

According to court documents, Joseph met with an IRS confidential informant (CI) and discussed a scheme to cash tax refund checks involving PII stolen from a medical clinic. The CI introduced Joseph to an undercover IRS agent. During three separate meetings, Joseph gave the undercover agent a total of thirteen tax refund checks for the undercover agent to cash. In exchange, the undercover agent gave Joseph approximately sixty-five percent (65%) of the check amounts as payment for his participation in the illicit scheme.

Court documents also state that at another meeting, the undercover agent provided Joseph with five IRS-controlled identities, consisting of fictitious PII - names, social security numbers, and dates of birth - to be used by a tax preparer in order to file fraudulent federal tax returns.  During a separate meeting, the undercover agent gave Chikudo seven additional IRS-controlled identities that Chikudo intended to include in fraudulent tax return filings.  Chikudo asked the undercover agent if he could obtain a business bank account for the purpose of depositing the fraudulent tax refunds into that account to avoid detection.  The defendants, undercover agent, and another undercover partner agreed to split all of the tax refunds equally amongst themselves. The undercover agent provided Chikudo with IRS-controlled bank account information to be included on the fraudulent tax returns.  The defendants caused six fraudulent federal income tax returns to be filed.  The filings designated the IRS-controlled bank account as the intended recipient of the fraudulent refunds.

Furthermore, court documents state that between April and August of 2013, the defendants filed thirty-two fraudulent federal income tax returns using the twelve IRS-controlled identities, to request refunds totaling $197,688.  Twenty-one of the returns were joint returns that included the PII of deceased individuals.

The defendants each face a maximum of twenty years in prison for the conspiracy charge. Chikudo is also facing and a mandatory term of two years in prison, consecutive to any other term of imprisonment, for the aggravated identity theft charge.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, ICE-HSI and NMBPD.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia E. Shick.

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 Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

Updated February 4, 2016