Seven Sentenced in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
TAMPA, FL—U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington has sentenced seven individuals for their roles in a conspiracy to commit stolen identity refund fraud in the Tampa Bay area. Mikeil Royal was sentenced to five years and five months, Brian Gilchrist was sentenced to three years and one month, Donterrio Troup was sentenced to two years and eleven months, Kenneth Royal was sentenced to two years and nine months, Terrence Johnson was sentenced to two years, Shadae Cotton was sentenced to one year and nine months, and Tanisha Johnson was sentenced to one year and eight months. As part of each defendant’s sentence, the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $488,657.71, representing the amount of the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct. Each individual previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy.
According to court documents, between 2011 and 2014, the above-named individuals filed false and fraudulent income tax returns in the names of deceased individuals whom they located on the Internet. In these returns, the conspirators represented that they were entitled to the refunds and requested that the IRS direct refunds in varying amounts to accounts that they had established, in their own respective names, at two local financial institutions.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.