Aggravated Identity Theft Charges
A U.S. Marine who violated the trust of members of his unit in Afghanistan was sentenced Friday to nearly five years in prison for stealing their identities so he could commit tax refund fraud.
Jobson Cenor, of North Miami, had been stationed in Afghanistan when he got the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of more than 100 Marines, many of them from his own unit. He sent the personal information to a Coral Springs woman who agreed to use it to file false tax refunds and split the money with him.
The plot unraveled when Cenor’s accomplice, Dorothy Boulin, talked to a FBI informant about filing fake tax returns. When Boulin was arrested in February, she began cooperating with the FBI and placed a recorded phone call to Cenor about the fraudulent tax refunds.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) then obtained a search warrant for Cenor’s living quarters at Camp Leatherneck in the Helmund Province of Afghanistan. NCIS agents seized a list containing the personal information of 44 Marines.
In 2004, Congress enacted the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act, which increased criminal penalties for identity theft. The new crime “aggravated identity theft” was conceived, which refers to using stolen identification for crimes beyond the realm of standard identity theft, including terrorism.
Aggravated identity theft has a mandatory two-year sentence in the Bureau of Prisons. This sentence must be served consecutively to any other sentence (source).
Most sentences for various crimes run concurrently. This means that a person found guilty of two or more crimes will serve the sentence imposed on each crime simultaneously. For example, if a person receives a sentence of one year on the first crime, and three years on the second, he will serve a total of three years.
Compare this situation to someone who serves sentences consecutively. A defendant who is sentenced to one year on the first crime and three years on a second crime will serve four years total. Consecutive sentencing means that the sentences run one after the other.
The consecutive nature of sentencing for aggravated identity theft under 18 USC 1028A is important because the case always involves two sentences. Recall that identity theft generally involves two elements: first, the defendant used identifying information that belonged to another person; and second, the use of this information occurred during the commission of another crime. In this respect, identity theft consists of identity theft combined with another crime.
West Palm Beach Fraud Defense Attorney
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we have extensive experience representing people charged with fraud crimes, including mortgage fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, tax evasion, insider trading, theft by fraudulent means, writing bad checks, and organized schemes to defraud.
In Florida, most fraud charges involve the Economic Crimes Division (ECD) putting together a great amount of evidence for presentation before a grand jury. The best way to resolve these cases is for your lawyer to have a good working relationship with the prosecutor and to try to avoid any serious consequences by paying restitution. In Florida, restitution outweighs incarceration, so if your lawyer can persuade the victim to drop charges in favor of receiving their money back, you can usually avoid a conviction.
If you did not commit the fraud crime, we can prepare an aggressive defense and force the state to prove its case. In many cases, that can be a difficult thing for the state to do.