Deputy Titus Lee Dixon, 48, Perrissa Dixon, 40, Orman Curtis Witherspoon, 40, Stefondra Monroe, 23, all residing in Kissimmee, Florida, and Katrina Pratt, 39, of Tallahassee, have been charged by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft in a scheme to obtain fraudulent federal income tax refunds. The indictment was announced today by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
The ten-count indictment alleges that for tax years 2010 and 2011, the five defendants were part of a scheme that illegally used the personal identifying information of numerous victims, without their permission, to prepare and electronically file over one hundred fraudulent federal income tax returns. Among the victims are individuals whose names had been searched by current Osceola County Deputy Sheriff Titus Dixon, through Florida law enforcement databases. Other victims include work-study students at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), where Katrina Pratt works as an administrative assistant in human resources. The indictment charges that Perrissa Dixon used the identities of 150 individuals in the scheme to defraud, and Pratt used the identities of 40 FAMU students.
As alleged in the indictment, the defendants caused the Internal Revenue Service to issue tax refunds in the names of the victims, either electronically onto pre-paid debit cards or in the form of U.S. Treasury checks. The fraudulently obtained funds were then deposited into bank accounts controlled by the defendants. As a result of this scheme, the Internal Revenue Service issued approximately $500,000.00 in fraudulently claimed income tax refunds.
The indictment results from a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, and the FAMU Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Ustynoski.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.