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Florida Men Accused of Stealing Ohio Residents’ COVID-19 Stimulus Checks, Tax Refunds

Three Florida men face federal charges after officials said they stole credit, tax refunds and COVID-19 stimulus checks from several victims in Ohio.

The men are charged with defrauding at least 11 banks, and investigators have identified more than $1 million in suspected criminal proceeds from accounts associated with one of the defendants alone, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice. The release states the co-conspirators used the Dark Web to obtain personally identifiable information on victims from 2012 through August of 2020. These victims included multiple Ohio residents.

The defendants then verified the stolen information through the IRS’s eAuthentication service, according to the release. Once they determined the information was accurate, the co-conspirators filed fraudulent tax returns in the victims’ names and routed tax refunds and COVID-19 stimulus checks to be deposited into bank accounts they controlled.

Using fraudulent Social Security cards and driver’s licenses they created with the victims’ stolen information, the defendants were able to open financial accounts in the victims’ names. The release states the defendants requested convenience checks in high dollar amounts from these fake financial accounts, and ordered business credit cards with higher credit limits by registering LLCs with states and the IRS.

The following men were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, two counts of mail fraud affecting a financial institution and two counts of aggravated identity theft, according to the release:

‒ Adesh Alvin Bissoon, 41, of Miami Beach, Florida.
‒ Michael Jacques Joseph, 37, of Miami Beach, Florida.
‒ Victor Torres, 38, of Apollo Beach, Florida.

If convicted, each defendant faces up to 30 years in prison for conspiracy and fraud charges and an additional two years in prison for theft charges, the release states.

The release states Bissoon was initially charged and released on bond in Florida, but officials later determined he had attempted to steal another $150,000 from a bank while on release, claiming to be the victim of unauthorized bank transfers. A judge revoked Bissoon’s pretrial release on Aug. 28.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David M. DeVillers announced the charges in Cincinnati alongside the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the release states.

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