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Drug felon learns a new felony trade: A $12 million tax refund ID theft scam

A convicted Miami-Dade drug trafficker unemployed for the past decade discovered how to make a quick buck, cashing $12 million in fraudulent tax-refund checks over five months last year, authorities say.

A convicted Miami-Dade drug trafficker unemployed for the past decade discovered how to make a quick buck, cashing $12 million in fraudulent tax-refund checks over five months last year, authorities say.

Frankie Jermaine Anderson skimmed 20 percent of the take for himself, gave 30 percent to a Perrine check-cashing store owner and delivered the other half of the proceeds to the supplier of the refund checks, according to federal prosecutors.

Anderson, 40, was arrested Tuesday on a criminal complaint and charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, theft of federal money and aggravated identity theft. He will have a detention hearing in Miami federal court Monday.

Anderson’s alleged scheme, while hardly unusual in one of the nation’s ID-theft, tax-refund fraud capitals, is nonetheless striking for the total value of Treasury Department checks cashed over such a short span.

Internal Revenue Service agents initially took down Anderson in a sting operation in November, when he was caught with 35 Treasury refund checks totaling $119,165 that he was allegedly trying to cash through a confidential source and undercover agent in Miami. Anderson confessed to the Perrine check-cashing store scam to IRS agents, according to the criminal complaint.

Prosecutor Michael Berger said the fraudulently obtained refund checks in Anderson’s possession included one for a dead person.

The U.S. attorney’s office has moved to seize two homes in Southwest Miami-Dade that are valued at $250,000 each. One home was purchased for Anderson and his wife, Debra, and the other for Anderson’s mother, Berger said.

Also, the office has filed papers to seize Anderson’s fleet of late-model cars: a BMW 530i, BMW X6, Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Panamera, Cadillac CTS, Jaguar XF, Jaguar XJ, and Bentley GT Coupe.

According to state records, Anderson has been unemployed since 2003.

Federal court records show Anderson was convicted in 1995 of conspiracy to possess with intent to manufacture and distribute cocaine. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

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Copyright 2013 – The Miami Herald