Former Richmond County Deputy Sentenced in Identity Theft Scheme
AUGUSTA, GA—Sean Lydell Street, 39, a former Richmond County, Georgia Deputy Sheriff, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall to 24 months in prison for stealing personal identification information to be used as part of a fraudulent tax refund scheme.
According to the evidence presented during the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Street worked for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office from 2007 through 2012. During the last part of 2011 and the first part of 2012, Street used the personal identification information of over 100 individuals, which he obtained through his work as a law enforcement officer, to create a list containing the name, birthdate, and social security number of each person. Street then passed this list to an acquaintance knowing that the information would be used to file fraudulent tax returns with the United States Internal Revenue Service. In exchange, Street hoped to gain at least $1,000.00 per stolen identity. In total, individuals used the information from Street’s list to file 76 bogus tax returns which claimed $414,826.00 in false refunds. The IRS paid a total of $76,424.00 in refunds prior to the discovery of the fraud.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Aggravated identity theft and stolen identity tax refund fraud are serious crimes that have serious consequences. Mr. Street is now walking a different beat on the way to federal prison.”
“Mr. Street exploited his position as a law enforcement officer for his own personal financial gain which came at the expense of the community he was entrusted to serve,” stated Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot. “This sentence is a message to others that there are consequences to stealing and using other individual’s personal identifying information.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “Identity theft in furtherance of fraudulent tax returns is a significant and growing crime problem that victimizes not only those individuals but also the taxpayer. The FBI will continue to do its part in combating this trend and ensuring that those individuals engaged in such criminal activities are held accountable for their actions.”
IRS-CI Special Agent Jeffrey Pippin Hale, FBI Special Agent Paul Kubala, and Deputies from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation which led to the information and plea. Assistant United States Attorney C. Troy Clark prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.