December 22, 2014

Former Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Identity Theft Charges

JACKSONVILLE, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Harold B. Walbey, III (46 Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled. Walbey was indicted on December 11, 2013.

According to court documents, from at least in or about 2010 and continuing through about May 2012, Walbey, in his capacity as a correctional officer at the John E. Goode Pre-trial Detention Facility (PTDF), stole the personal identifying information of unknowing inmates that were housed at the facility. As a part of this scheme, Walbey maintained a notebook that contained 49 names, social security numbers, and dates of births of prisoners that were incarcerated at the PTDF. Once this information was stolen, fraudulent debit card accounts and W-2 forms were created in the inmates’ names. A fraudulent tax return was then electronically filed using various online tax software tools such as Turbo Tax. From 2010 through 2012, Walbey filed tax returns in 38 different prisoners’ names, claiming more than $250,000 in fraudulent refunds.

This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Malisa Chokshi.