Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Gabriel Grchan, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), St. Paul Field Office, Michael J. De Palma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS-CI, Miami Field Office, and Dexter M. Williams, Chief, Miramar Police Department, announced that Frantz Silvene, 34, of Miami, was sentenced to 87 months after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286, and one count of aggravated identity theft in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, for a tax refund scheme that resulted in the filing of approximately $7 million in fraudulent tax refund claims. Also connected to this scheme, Myriam Gisme, 38 of Miami, was sentenced to 53 months after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims. At sentencing, on August 28, 2018, the defendants were also ordered to pay approximately $1.5 million in restitution.
According to the plea documents, from January 2010 to October 2013, the defendants agreed on a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds with the IRS using stolen personal identity information. Silvene knowingly provided stolen personal identity information for the preparation of fraudulent tax returns and assisted in opening bank accounts in Minnesota to receive fraudulently obtained tax refunds. Gisme, and others, knowingly caused the filing of false tax returns from South Florida using stolen identity information for the payment of refunds to accounts in Minnesota and elsewhere.
During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants caused the filing of approximately 1,000 tax returns seeking approximately $7 million in fraudulent tax refunds claims. The IRS paid out approximately $1.5 million in refunds to accounts controlled by Silvene, Gisme, and other co-conspirators.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI in Minnesota and Miami and the Miramar Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.