FL: Hollywood Man Pleads Guilty In Million Dollar Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Judes Celestin, 36, of Hollywood, pled guilty for his role in an identity theft tax refund scheme that resulted in the receipt of approximately $1 million in fraudulent tax refunds. Sentencing is scheduled for August 13, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola.

Celestin pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A. At sentencing, Celestin faces a maximum term of 22 years in prison.

According to the plea documents, Celestin set up two Florida corporations – JC Easy Tax, Inc. (“JC Easy Tax”) and Tax Filing Made Easy! (“Tax Filing Made Easy”) – and listed himself as president. He opened and controlled bank accounts for these two corporations at various banks in South Florida. Celestin caused false and fraudulent individual income tax returns to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service in the names of individuals without those individuals’ knowledge or authority. The defendant caused approximately one million dollars in tax refund monies to be direct deposited to bank accounts for JC Easy Tax and Tax Filing Made Easy. Celestin then withdrew this money for his own personal use and benefit.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.

SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida

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