Two Broward County residents pled guilty for their involvement in an identity theft tax fraud scheme involving the trafficking in, use, and possession of unauthorized debit account numbers.
Wilna Joseph, 36, and Maraldy Necker Jean, 39, both of Broward County,each pled guilty to one count of trafficking in and using one or more unauthorized access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(2), and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).
According to court documents, fraudulent tax returns were filed using the names and Social Security number of individuals without their permissions. On February 6, 2014, the defendants drove to a Wells Fargo Bank in Pembroke Pines and Joseph attempted to withdraw cash from the ATM using a debit card encoded with an account number belonging to one of the tax return victims. The defendants then drove to a Citibank located in Pembroke Pines, were Joseph made four withdrawals, totaling approximately $1,200.00, using a debit card encoded with an account number belonging to another one of the tax return victims.
At the time of their arrest, on February 6, 2014. the defendants had fifteen unauthorized debit cards registered in the name of other persons. The debit cards had been funded with fraudulently obtained federal tax refunds totaling approximately $76,249.20.
Joseph and Jean are scheduled to be sentenced on November 18, 2016 before United States District Judge William J. Zloch. At sentencing, the defendants face up to ten years in prison for the access device charge, and two years’ imprisonment, consecutive to any other prison term, for the aggravated identity theft charge.