In 2015, the IRS handled 776 investigations related to identity theft resulting in 774 criminal sentences. The average jail time imposed last year was 38 months, and the longest sentence was over 27 years.
This blog series will provide a summary of the top ten on the IRS’ list of notorious identity theft cases of 2015.
Densom Beaucejour, age 22, and Winzord Beaucejour, age 21
Miami-Dade County, Florida
What they did
The Beaucejour brothers used stolen IDs to submit bogus federal income tax returns, seek state tax refunds in Ohio, and make false unemployment claims in Florida.
How they did it
After a local police officer reported that they were a victim identity theft and that a phony unemployment insurance claim had been filed in their name, federal investigators discovered that 234 more phony claims totaling $239,510 had been filed using the Beaucejour’s address.
Law enforcement agents executed a warrant and discovered that the Beaucejours had collected the private information (names, birthdates, and social security numbers) of more than 1,000 taxpayers along with numerous credit cards, thousands of dollars in cash, and a few handguns. The brothers in crime had filed 365 federal income tax returns ranging from $275 to $7,581 and claiming a total of $413,279 in tax refunds. They also filed two Ohio state tax returns seeking $15,004 in refunds and a number of fake unemployment claims in Florida. The grand total of the intended loss in this case amounted to $917,973.
On March 24, 2015, the brothers were charged and pled guilty to:
- Conspiracy to use unauthorized access devices under 18 U.S. Code Section 1029(b)(2)
- Possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, in violation of 18 U.S. Code Section 1029(a)(3)
- Aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S. Code Section 1028A(a)(1).
The brothers were each sentenced to five years imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and were ordered to pay $553,204 in restitution.
Prosecutions for ID theft crimes on the rise
This was just one of many cases of ID theft prosecuted in Florida in 2015. The Miami Herald has reported that Florida is a “national hot spot” for crimes relating to identity theft, particularly those involving tax refund fraud. The tax law firm of Moskowitz LLP has a team of criminal defense attorneys who can help. Call our office today for a consultation.