Florida Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud Using Inmates’ Identities
TAMPA, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Jerry St. Fleur (26, Tampa) today pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. St. Fleur faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, beginning no later than January 2011, and continuing until about May 2014, St. Fleur, in his capacity as a correctional officer at the Zephyrhills Correctional Facility, in Zephyrhills, Florida, unlawfully accessed and stole the personal identifying information (PII) of inmates, both former and current, within the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC). St. Fleur would “screen scrape” (i.e., cut and paste) inmates’ PII, without their knowledge or permission, from FDOC databases and then use that PII to file false tax returns. As part of this scheme, St. Fleur filed approximately 182 fraudulent income tax returns. The government estimates that the total amount of fraudulent refunds requested from the 182 tax returns was over $500,000.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Jackson.
This case was brought as part of the Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance, an initiative dedicated to combating the scheme of using stolen identities to file fraudulent federal income tax refund claims. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office are working together on this joint investigative and enforcement effort.