FL: Three People Sentenced in Tax Refund Fraud Scheme That Used Patient Data

There’s a follow-up to a breach previously noted on this site.

Jermaine Winters, 39, of Coleman, Florida, Senora Cotton, 24, of Chipley, Florida, and Rosetta Presley, 23, of Chipley, Florida, were sentenced today for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with the electronic filing of false federal income tax returns. Winters was sentenced to 108 months in prison, Cotton to 24 months and 1 day in prison, and Presley to 2 days in prison and 5 years’ probation. Additionally, the defendants were ordered to pay $195,547 in restitution to the IRS. The sentences were announced by Christopher P. Canova, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

During their guilty pleas, Winters, Cotton, and Presley admitted that, between July 2011 and July 2012, they conspired to file fraudulent tax returns using the stolen identities of assisted-living facility residents who lived at the Dogwood Inn in Bonifay, Florida, as well as clinical laboratory patients from the Sun Laboratory Services in the Tampa, Florida area, and others. The conspirators attempted to steal more than $276,000 from the United States Treasury through the fraud scheme. The refunds issued on the fraudulent returns were loaded onto prepaid debit cards and mailed to addresses in the Northern District of Florida. Winters and Presley pled guilty on April 16, 2015, and Cotton pled guilty on August 3, 2015.

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

N.B. Another defendant, Fontella Keith, had been employed by Dogwood Inn and stole those residents’ information. It is still not clear to me from court records how the Sun Laboratory Services patient data were stolen.

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