The information, purchased on the dark web, is alleged to have resulted in at least $36 million in claims for unwarranted refunds and $4 million in lost taxes with the IDs used for returns filed through at least six fraudulent tax preparation businesses. Losses are still being calculated.
From 2015 through 2019, the defendants and other conspirators, including one who has died and was called RICH4EVER4430 in the indictment, joined in what was called a “sophisticated cybercrime and tax fraud scheme.”
The group allegedly used the stolen server credentials to steal information through computer intrusions of systems operated by CPA and tax prep firms with the result the phony returns included clients’ names, dates of birth, Social Security number and financial information.
Conspirators registered preparer tax identification numbers using the names and information of ID theft victims, to make it appear they were the ones filing false returns in bulk. They routinely used pseudonyms, opened business entities and bank accounts in the names of nominees and victims, and utilized dozens of different email addresses. The group also opened bank accounts in the names of these fraudulent tax businesses to receive fake “tax preparer fees”
Those indicted were Florida residents Andi Jacques, 41, of Greenacres; Monika Shauntel Jenkins , 33, Hollywood; Louis Noel Michel, 28, of Hollywood; Jeff Jordan Propht-Francisque, 28, of Pompano Beach; Dickenson Elan, 39, of Clearwater, Michael Jean Poix, 31, of West Palm Beach; Vladimyr Cherelus, 33, of Lauderdale Lakes; and Louisaint Jolteus, 37, of West Palm Beach.
All were indicated for an alleged Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy. Jacques, Poix, Jenkins, and Michel have also been charged with wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft