Miami Resident Sentenced in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
A Miami resident was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Darrin P. Gayles for her participation in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme. Melissa Pearl Davis (“Davis,”) 32, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $219,721.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Miami Field Office, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), made the announcement.
Davis and her co-defendant, Kiesha Adderly Mitchell (“Mitchell,”) 36, each previously pled 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, Sections 1028A(a)(1) and 2. As part of their plea agreements, each defendant agreed to restitution in the amount of $219,721.
According to court documents, in 2009, the defendants applied to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) for Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (“EFINs”) in the name of corporate or fictitious entities they controlled, including K. Mitch Services, Inc. and Pebbles Tax & Notary Services. The defendants used those EFINs to submit false and fraudulent federal income tax returns to the IRS, using the names and Social Security numbers of other individuals, without the taxpayers’ authority. After the tax returns were received by the IRS, various financial institutions would authorize the defendants to load onto debit cards refund anticipation loans in the names of tax payers whose names and Social Security numbers were used to file the false and fraudulent tax returns. The defendants then withdrew the unlawfully obtained tax proceeds from the debit cards for their personal use and enrichment. The total intended loss from the defendants’ false and fraudulent filings of unauthorized income tax returns was over $400,000.
A sentencing date has not been set for Mitchell.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the South Florida Identity Theft Tax Fraud Strike Force, with special commendation to the FBI and IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurice A. Johnson.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.