News Release: Department of Justice
July 11, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – United States Attorney Pamela C. Marsh announced today that Clifford Virgile, 25, of Tallahassee, and Rodney Charles, 22, of Miami, were sentenced to prisons terms based upon their pleas of guilty to identity theft and income tax refund fraud charges. United States District Judge Robert L. Hinkle sentenced Virgile to a total of 70 months in prison, three years of supervised release, $500 in special monetary assessments, and $102,824 in restitution. Charles received a total term of 25 months in prison, three years of supervised release, $400 in special monetary assessments, and $4,475 in restitution.
According to court records, the men were arrested on the Florida State University campus on May 16, 2013. FSU Police Officers responded after employees noticed the men loitering in a deserted area, near a bank of automated teller machines shortly before 6:00 a.m. Charles fled when officers approached. When caught, Charles had $2,906 in cash, a debit card in a woman’s name, and a receipt showing that he had just withdrawn $500 using that card. Virgile was located nearby. When officers found Virgile’s rental vehicle, they discovered another five debit cards in other people’s names, $13,605 in cash, and receipts for other cash withdrawals.
Officers also found Virgile’s laptop, which contained stolen personal identity information (“PII”) for about 250 people. Other fraudulent income tax returns have been linked to the PII in Virgile’s computer and to the internet addresses used for the returns, which were directed to the debit cards.
Proceeds from seventeen fraudulent income tax returns were sent to these six debit cards. These returns sought a total of $95,499 and actually caused refunds totaling $58,513 to be issued. Another $17,953 was recovered from the debit cards after they were seized. Sentencing was based upon total attempted losses exceeding $400,000 and actual losses of $119,619, which were reduced by the monies seized when the defendants were arrested.
U.S. Attorney Marsh credited the success of this prosecution to the joint efforts of the FSU Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Internal Revenue Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael T. Simpson.