FL: Two Arrested In Identity Theft And Tax Refund Scheme

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced the return of an indictment charging two individuals with conspiracy to defraud the United States, multiple counts of aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, and access device fraud. Laura Butler (39) and Cherica Daniels (32), both of Jacksonville, were arrested early Thursday morning.

According to the Indictment, Butler and Daniels agreed and conspired with each other to intentionally and deliberately disrupt the collection of federal income tax by, among other means, filing fraudulent income tax returns. Butler is alleged to have acquired the identification of others through her employment by an insurance company and, along with Daniels, to have filed false and fraudulent income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.

If convicted, the conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. The aggravated identity theft offenses each carry a mandatory prison term of two years, which must be served consecutive to any other term of imprisonment. The maximum penalty for each wire fraud count is 20 years, and the access device fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Kelly S. Karase is handling the prosecution of this case.

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

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