A West Palm Beach woman faces federal charges of identity theft and tax fraud after investigators say she stole personal information from more than 700 people.
Tia Lashonda Miller, 39, is accused of stealing the information and keeping it in a notebook that included names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, according to a news release from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
Investigators also say Miller might have used some of the names to get prescription drugs, according to federal court records.
Miller and two others were arrested in October 2012 for credit card fraud greater than $100 in Martin County. Officers were called to the Treasure Coast Mall for a report of shoplifting.
What they found were notebooks filled with 726 names and Social Security numbers — many of which belonged to people in Boynton Beach and Delray Beach — 20 debit cards and an iPad, according to federal records.
IRS investigators said many of the names and account numbers Miller had were used to file fraudulent tax returns that sought tax refund payments to credit and debit cards, records show.
The Martin County Sheriff's Office referred Miller's case to the IRS. Miller told federal investigators a man she knew had broken into a car the day she was arrested, and stole credit cards and a gun, federal records show.
Miller and the two men she was with were all convicted felons. Palm Beach County records show Miller pleaded guilty to felony battery in 2000 and 2004. She was also convicted of fraudulent use of a credit card in Palm Beach County in 2001.
She admitted that she and one of the men had broken into multiple cars and stolen credit cards, according to the records.
Miller told investigators while she was stealing identification information, she was only helping others. She denied filing false tax returns, records show.
"I don't do taxes," she told investigators. "I sell drugs."
However, investigators found Miller filed false 2012 tax returns in early 2013 after her October 2012 arrest. Federal documents show IRS agents searched Miller's home and found additional names, information and letters from the IRS not addressed to her.
Miller also had tax software on her computer with 2012 tax return information, records show. Along with tax files, investigators found multiple returns had been filed from Miller's IP address. Miller said she had an unsecured wireless connection, according to federal records.
A grand jury in Fort Pierce indicted Miller on tax fraud, and agents soon found she had left the state, despite being told by investigators she was not allowed to leave. An IRS agent contacted her in Georgia, and she agreed to surrender on Monday.
She faces charges of unlawful possession of unauthorized access devices and five counts of aggravated identity theft. She is being held without bail. She faces 10 years in prison if convicted.
She also is scheduled to be sentenced in March for her October 2012 arrest, according to Martin County court records.
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