Former corrections officer pleads guilty to wire fraud, identity theft

A state corrections officer accused of using inmates’ identities to file fraudulent tax returns pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Jerry St. Fleur, 26, of Zephyrhills, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to an indictment, St. Fleur worked at the Zephyrhills Correctional Institution, where he used his job to obtain names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of current and former inmates without their knowledge.

Beginning no later than January 2011 and continuing until about May, St. Fleur would “screen scrape” (cut and paste) inmates’ personal information from state Department of Corrections databases, prosecutors said. Using that information, he filed 182 fraudulent income tax returns, prosecutors said.

The indictment listed five different tax returns claiming refunds from $996 to $7,324 for a total of $14,274 in January and February 2013.

Overall, the federal government estimated, he requested refunds totaling more than $500,000, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

St. Fleur was fired by the Department of Corrections after his arrest in May.

Article source: http://tbo.com/news/crime/former-corrections-officer-pleads-guilty-to-wire-fraud-identity-theft-20140709/

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