Government Gets Real with Refund Fraudster


Here’s a clear message from the U.S. government to would-be thieves that exploiting honest, taxpaying Americans to drain the U.S. Treasury of their income tax refund money will not be tolerated. A news release published by the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a 36-year-old Florida man was sentenced to nearly 18 years in prison for leading a criminal conspiracy to file 776 fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities, collecting millions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds. (What they lacked in creativity they made up for in ambition.

It all began in July of 2010, when the ringleader and his co-conspirators used innocent people’s personally identifiable information, including their social security numbers, to file fraudulent tax returns on their behalf. They falsified people’s employment and income information to complete the returns, which were submitted together with instructions that the Internal Revenue Service deposit refunds into one of many bank accounts belonging to one of the fictitious tax preparation businesses they had set up. (Way to leave a lengthy paper trail.) Although this crime ring worked quickly, they also were careless, and the government caught up with them less than one year into the scam. By then, the hundreds of falsified tax returns they filed had resulted in the ring collecting $5,249,935 in fraudulent refunds.

For his part in these crimes, the individual who led the scheme pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government and one count of money laundering. He was sentenced to 210 months in prison. Additionally, the government seized his home and he must pay $906,556 in restitution.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Florida Man Sentenced to 210 Months in Prison for Orchestrating a Multi-Million Dollar Income Tax Fraud Scheme,” a news release published by the U.S. Department of Justice on June 10, 2016.

Frantz Pierre, 36, who pleaded guilty to orchestrating a multi-million dollar tax fraud scheme and engaging in money laundering, was sentenced to 210 months in prison.

Pierre and his co-conspirators used stolen social security numbers and other personal identifiers as well as fabricated employment and income information to submit approximately 776 fraudulent tax returns to the IRS, resulting in $5,249,935 in tax refunds to be deposited into the fictitious companies’ bank accounts.

As part of his sentence, Pierre was ordered to forfeit his house in Parkland, Florida and pay $906,556 in restitution.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.