Three Orlando Residents Charged with Identity Theft and Tax Refund Fraud
ORLANDO, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Shantrell Sharae Stephenson, Lori Ann Dilworth, and Richard Damarick Mitchell with conspiracy, submitting false claims to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), theft of government property, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for each conspiracy and theft of government property count, five years’ imprisonment for each false claims count, and a mandatory minimum term of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft count. Trial is scheduled for the July 2015 trial term.
According to the indictment, Dilworth worked at the Orange County Jail. Mitchell solicited Dilworth to steal the personal identification information of jail inmates for the purpose of providing that information to be used by Stephenson and other co-conspirators in filing false tax returns. In total, the conspirators used stolen personal information to submit over $200,000 in fraudulent tax returns to the IRS.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.