Fraud Case Fallout Taints Tax Specialist, Department of Revenue
Around the State
A tax specialist at the Florida Department of Revenue is under internal investigation stemming from her 2004 conviction for "defrauding and obtaining money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses."
Deon McCrimmon was convicted in U.S. District Court in Georgia of concealing a $139,169 unpaid IRS bill and overstating her income when she applied for a home loan in Albany, Ga.
Less than seven months later, and while still on probation, McCrimmon landed a job at the Florida Department of Revenue on April 8, 2005.
DOR declined to discuss McCrimmon's case or her status. Spokeswoman Renee Watters said the matter was under investigation by the department's inspector general.
The inspector general's office confirmed that the McCrimmon case was "open," but would not elaborate.
McCrimmon did not return Sunshine State News' call seeking comment.
Court records show that McCrimmon was a bank examiner at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in Georgia during the time of her illicit activities. A source said she was terminated by FDIC upon her conviction.
How McCrimmon, a convicted felon, navigated through the hiring process and standard background checks at the Department of Revenue is unclear. But a source close to the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested that McCrimmon "may have schemed with another Revenue employee and friend to circumvent the hiring and interviewing process by getting the interviewing team to forgo and not perform the task of due diligence to its fullest."
The federal indictment stated that McCrimmon "knowingly and willfully devised a scheme and artifice" to defraud Homecomings Financial Network Inc. when she applied for a $211,000 home loan.
McCrimmon, the indictment said, "falsely stated on a Uniform Residential Loan Application that she had liabilities in the total amount of $76,976. In truth and fact, as she well knew at the time, defendant McCrimmon had liabilities in the total amount of at least $186,976," including a $139,169 unpaid IRS bill.
The indictment also said McCrimmon "fraudulently represented" her monthly income as $10,000. It was actually $5,685.
"The defendant knew that her real income would not qualify her for the loan she sought from Homecomings Financial," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Crane wrote in the June 25, 2004, indictment.
Pleading guilty, McCrimmon was ordered to pay $24,775 in restitution to Homecomings and was placed on five years' probation.
Today, McCrimmon earns $43,701 a year at the Department of Revenue -- barely two-thirds what she made at FDIC.
It is not known if McCrimmon made all the court-ordered restitution payments or fulfilled the terms of her probation.
But the source who blew the whistle on McCrimmon in a letter to DOR Executive Director Lisa Vickers blasted both the tax specialist and the agency that employs her:
"For almost a decade, this convicted criminal has lived a lie, while being promoted time and time again to better and higher-paying jobs of trust and leadership, all the time betraying the trust of the citizens, taxpayers and voters of the state of Florida."
In a separate but potentially related development, state Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, announced Friday that she has re-filed legislation to bolster the independence of inspector general offices.
Under SB 270, the state's chief inspector general would appoint agency inspectors, and agency directors would be barred from firing agency inspectors general.
The chief inspector general would report to the Cabinet, instead of solely to the governor.
Contact Kenric Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 801-5341.