|June 3, 2014
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Hillsborough County Judge Tom Barber sentenced Demetrius A. Lewis, 39, to 15 years in prison following a prosecution by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution. Lewis was convicted of organized fraud, criminal use of personal identification and grand theft charges stemming from a tax refund fraud case involving fraudulent tax returns and IRS refund checks.
Lewis deposited numerous IRS and debit card company checks into his bank accounts that were the product of fraudulent tax returns submitted electronically to the IRS. Victims were located in Florida and throughout the country. One victim was even deceased at the time his tax return was submitted to the IRS for processing. The total loss for the IRS was in excess of $50,000.
“My office strives to protect taxpayers against tax related scams and fraud,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We will continue to prosecute any individual who commits tax refund fraud and takes advantage of hard working people.”
The investigation and conviction was a result of the Tampa Bay Alliance, a task force organized to combat tax refund fraud in the greater Tampa Bay area. Lewis was one of the first targets of the Tampa Bay Alliance to be convicted by trial in state court. The investigation was handled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Internal Revenue Service.
“The Tampa Bay ID Theft Alliance has identified millions of dollars being manipulated by fraudulent schemes and this sentencing marks the completion of another successful investigation,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “Our work is not done. We will continue to aggressively investigate ID tax fraud.”
"The 15 year prison sentence handed down to Demetrius Lewis is a prime example of the successful state-federal partnership to prosecute identity theft and tax refund fraud,” said Jim Robnett, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation in Tampa. “It is through our Tampa Bay Alliance relationships that IRS has become more involved and able to support our state law enforcement partners.”