Officials have charged eleven South Florida residents with stolen identity tax refund fraud involving $34 million.
Each of the eleven individuals have been charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, commit wire fraud, and commit aggravated identity theft, along with two counts of wire fraud.
Charged in the indictment include Henry Dorvil, Herve Wilmore Jr., Dukens Eleazard, Marie Eleazard, Jesse Lamar Harrell, Luckner St Fleur, Ruth Cartwright, Miguel Patterson, Brandon Johnson, John Similien, and Marc Leroy Saint Juste.
According to the indictment, from about January 2009 through March 2012, the eleven charged filed with the IRS approximately 6,961 federal income tax returns, requesting refunds totaling approximately $34,096,321. Of the 6,961 field tax returns, 2,763 used the identities of deceased individuals.
Officials said Dorvil, Harrell, Patterson, Johnson and Saint Juste made their initial appearances in federal court in Fort Lauderdale on Friday at 1 pm.
According to the indictment, the eleven recruited knowing participants and unknowing victims to put businesses, bank accounts and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers in the defendants' names.
The individuals used this information to execute their fraud scheme, including tax refund fraud. The eleven also used the personal identification information of real persons, including some deceased, to file false income tax returns with the IRS.
In this way, the eleven received IRS refund checks at addresses and bank accounts that they controlled. To avoid having the fraud discovered, the defendants negotiated the fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks at each other's businesses.
"Stolen identity refund fraud is spreading in South Florida like an out of control wildfire," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. "Today, in just one case, we are charging another 11 individuals who used stolen identities, including that of almost 3,000 deceased persons, to file fraudulent returns seeking close to $35 million in tax refunds."
If convicted, the defendants face a possible maximum statutory sentence of 5 years in prison for the conspiracy count, 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud, and 2 years consecutive in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft.