Haitian national jailed for role in stolen identity scheme

MIAMI, CMC | The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) says a Haitian national residing in Miami-Dade County in Florida has been sentenced to 70 months in prison for his role in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme.

According to documents and information provided to the court, from about 2008 through January 2015, in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, Jean Leroy Destine, 36, and others, obtained stolen IDs, to include the personal identifying information of prisoners and deceased individuals.

The DOJ said that they used this information to prepare and file with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about 2,000 tax returns seeking more than two million dollars in fraudulent refunds. "Destine and his co-conspirators covered their tracks by recruiting individuals to obtain Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) in their names from the IRS and then used these EFINs to electronically file the fraudulent returns," the DOJ said.

"The conspirators directed the refunds to debit cards as well as treasury checks mailed to various addresses," it added. "The refund checks were cashed at different check cashing stores, and funds were withdrawn from the debit cards at Western Union locations and ATMs."

In addition to the term of prison imposed, the DOJ said US District Judge Federico A. Moreno on Monday ordered Destine to serve three years of supervised release and to pay US$2.1 million in restitution to the IRS.

The DOJ said Destine pleaded guilty in May 2017 to one count of a multi-object conspiracy to defraud the IRS, commit wire fraud and commit aggravated identity theft, and one count of aggravated identity theft .