The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center, with the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, today arrested Demetrius Lewis, 37, of Tampa, for one count of organized fraud, five counts of Florida communications fraud and three counts of criminal use of personal information.
Pursuant to an ongoing criminal investigation, FDLE investigators discovered information which revealed that Lewis was allegedly receiving and cashing fraudulent tax refund checks. The checks were issued to eight different individuals who had no knowledge nor gave any permission to anyone to submit tax returns in their respective names.
“Filing fraudulent tax returns and stealing people’s identities is reprehensible,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “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.”
“Today’s arrest showcases the collaborative law enforcement effort to address this emerging problem,” said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “Similar cases are being developed as we speak.”
“The successful arrest of Demetrius Lewis today symbolizes the forward strides that the Alliance has made in combating identity theft-related tax fraud. The Tampa Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation is extremely proud and grateful to the efforts of the Special Agents and Investigators involved in this operation from the FDLE, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and our own local office. It is through these joint efforts and the use of new tools such as the Identity Theft Disclosure Pilot Program that these successes are possible,” said IRS Special Agent in Charge Jim Robnett. “While the initial investigation may be over, we recognize that proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt remains, and are thankful that the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosection is dedicated and committed to seeing these cases through. These types of crimes impact everyone, from tax-paying 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.”
Read the full story at Florida Attorney General News Releases.