TAMPA — Ynessa Brown and Thelonius Robertson, of Gibsonton in Hillsborough County, have been indicted in a series a stolen identity refund frauds between 2012 and 2013.
They were each charged with 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiring to commit tax fraud and five counts of aggravated identity theft, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa. Brown was also charged with two counts of filing false tax returns.
Prosecutors allege that from January 2012 through June 2013, Brown and Robertson, a couple, possessed and used stolen identities, including some from dead people, to electronically file false and fraudulent tax returns. They then directed the refunds from those fraudulent filings to debit cards, many in other people's names, authorities contend. The debit cards were allegedly sent directly to Brown and Robertson, as well as to their friends and family, and to vacant addresses.
Brown and Robertson, say prosecutors, spent the fraudulently obtained funds at various retail locations and also obtained cash via ATM withdrawals.
Brown and Robertson face a up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud, five years for each count of filing a false tax return and the conspiracy charge and two years on the identity theft counts, according to the statement. Authorities also seek $767,398 to recover funds lost in the charged criminal conduct.