Four Arrested in Tax Return Scheme
The suspects had been engaged in credit card fraud and identity theft, Tampa Police said.
Four area people were arrested and charged Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation into a tax return scheme, the Tampa Police Department reported.
The suspects had been engaged in credit card fraud and identity theft related
to filing fraudulent tax returns.
The scam works this way, according to the St. Petersburg Times: "A suspect takes someone's identity, files a tax return online, receives a refund on a prepaid Green Dot debit card and spends the ill-gotten gains."
The four arrestees Wednesday were carrying or using Green Dot debit cards that had other people's names, according to a news release.
- Briana Latisha Keaton, 22, of 1618 E. 24th Ave., who used a card to pay off a 50-inch, flat-screen TV and washer and dryer, police said. The victim is a 92-year-old Alzheimer's patient in a nursing home.
- Wilma Lee Gallagher, 70, of 8424 N. 16th St., who tried to cash a Green Dot check using a fraudulent power of attorney, police said.
- Endrica Michell Simpson, 37, of 1013 E. 14th Ave., who was found with a Green Dot card with multiple U.S. Treasury refunds on it during a traffic stop.
- Travis Rennard Johnson, 23, of 2404 E. Cayuga St., who used a Green Dot card in a jewelry store in University Mall, police said. The victim is an 82-year-old woman who lives in Illinois and does not know the suspect.
The four suspects were booked into Orient Road Jail, and additional charges are pending, police said.
Police also issued warrants for the arrests of three other suspects accused of similar crimes:
- Rashad Ahmeir Cortez, 24, of 6901 Bonair Dr.
- Alonia Shameka Anderson, 35, address unknown
- Darryl Deon Smith, of 3701 N. Ola Ave.
The yearlong investigation by federal and local law enforcement, dubbed Operation Rainmaker, has resulted in more than $100 million in intercepted taxes and $5 million in recovered taxes and assets.