On August the 14th, it was announced that a Florida resident had been sentenced to 70 months in prison for his involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme. The announcement was made by Stuart M. Goldberg with the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Benjamin G. Greenberg.
According to court evidence, 36-year-old Jean Leroy Destine and others engaged in identity theft and refund fraud from 2008 to 2015 in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The defendant was accused of acquiring stolen identifications. Some of the stolen IDs belonged to deceased individuals and others to inmates.
The information was used to complete and file roughly 2,000 tax returns in an attempt to receive more than $2 million in fraudulent refunds from the Internet Revenue Service. Destine and the co-conspirators tried to conceal their illegal activities by recruiting others to obtain EFINs, Electronic Filing Identification Numbers, in their names. Then, the group used these numbers to file the returns.
The refunds were distributed to debit cards and treasury checks. The checks were cashed at various stores throughout the area, while the funds from the debit cards were frequently withdrawn from Western Union stores and ATMs.
Destine has been sentenced to 70 months in prison, as well as 3-years of supervised released. He has also been ordered to pay more than $2.1 million in restitution to the IRS. Destine pleaded guilty in May of 2017.