Pam Bondi: Tampa Man Cashed Forged IRS Checks
A 37-year-old Tampa man has been charged with organized fraud -- receiving fraudulent tax refund checks -- the statewide attorney’s office announced on Monday.
Demetrius Lewis, 37, of Tampa, was arrested by the Pasco County sheriff’s office, with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service, charged with part of an ongoing Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal investigation.
“Today’s arrest showcases the collaborative law enforcement effort to address this emerging problem,” FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey stated in a release. “Similar cases are being developed as we speak.”
Lewis allegedly received and cashed checks -- with a combined value of $58,732.70 -- issued to eight different individuals who had no knowledge of the matter nor gave any permission to anyone to submit tax returns in their respective names, according to a release from the state.
"Filing fraudulent tax returns and stealing people's identities is reprehensible," Attorney General Pam Bondi stated in a release. "I am grateful to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service for working with us to protect others who may have otherwise fallen prey to this tax fraud scheme."
Lewis has been charged with one count of organized fraud, five counts of Florida communications fraud and three counts of criminal use of personal information.
“While the initial investigation may be over, we recognize that proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt remains, and are thankful that the statewide attorney’s office is dedicated and committed to seeing these cases through,” IRS Special Agent in Charge Jim Robnett stated in the release. “These types of crimes impact everyone, from taxpaying citizens to the victims and their families whose identities were stolen. Our office will continue to dedicate the necessary resources to enable these joint investigations and prosecutions to take place."