Date: March 17, 2020
Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell has sentenced Billy Altidor of Wellington and Evanie Louis of Wellington to federal prison terms for their roles in conspiracy to commit theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. Altidor was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, and Louis was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison. Each was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release and pay $93,685.60 in restitution.
Altidor and Louis had pleaded guilty on July 29, 2019.
According to court documents, Louis, Altidor, and their co-conspirators used stolen personal identifiable information (PII) to access the "My Social Security" (MySSA) online portal and redirect Social Security benefit payments to accounts controlled by the conspirators. The conspirators accessed or attempted to access MySSA accounts belonging to more than 1,400 different individuals, without the victims' knowledge or authorization.
Louis, Altidor, and their co-conspirators also used stolen PII to file false tax return and directed the fraudulently obtained tax refunds into accounts controlled by the conspirators. In addition, they used stolen identities to activate debit cards and bank accounts to receive the fraudulent tax refunds.
"We have made tremendous strides in the effort to combat tax-related identity theft. The vast majority of returns filed using stolen identities are stopped and never processed by the IRS," stated Special Agent in Charge Mary Hammond of IRS Criminal Investigation. "Would-be identify thieves should know that simply submitting a false claim, even if the crook never receives the refund, is grounds for criminal prosecution. We will continue to tirelessly pursue those who are so audacious as to think that they can sneak through the cracks."
"Today's sentencing is a warning to those who would steal and misuse personally identifiable information to defraud federal agencies and American taxpayers," said Rodregas Owens, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, Atlanta Field Division. "We will continue to uphold the integrity and security of Social Security's systems against this type of fraud. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney's Office and Special U.S. Attorney Suzanne Huyler, as well as our law enforcement partners, for their efforts in holding these individuals accountable for their crimes."
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Social Security Administration - Office of the Inspector General, and the Department of the Treasury - Office of the Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Huyler.