Plant City Woman Sentenced to Prison in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 @ 9:50PM
U.S. Attorney’s Office January 30, 2014
TAMPA—U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced Jennifer Meier Hunt to two years and six months in federal prison for committing stolen identity refund fraud. As part of her sentence, the court also entered a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $97,238, representing the proceeds of the tax fraud.
Hunt pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft on June 25, 2013.
According to court documents, in April 2011, a confidential informant told agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that certain employees of a Tampa-based professional staffing company were filing fraudulent income tax returns using TurboTax.com. Three individuals involved in the conspiracy were then identified by agents, supervisors of the staffing company, and Turbo Tax. On May 19, 2011, federal search warrants were executed at the residences of these three individuals. The investigation subsequently revealed that between February 2, 2011 and May 2, 2011, Hunt used stolen identities to electronically file 75 fraudulent federal income tax returns in order to obtain refunds to which she was not entitled. The value of the refunds that would have resulted from the filed returns totaled approximately $187,687. Although some of the returns were rejected by the Internal Revenue Service, 47 of the fraudulent returns were accepted, resulting in the issuance of $97,238 in tax refunds to debit cards under the control of Hunt. None of the victims of the fraudulently filed tax returns, which included a number of deceased individuals, had authorized Hunt to open or use a debit card in their name. Neither had anyone authorized the conspirators to file a tax return on his or her behalf.