A federal agent has filed a declaration accusing a man of receiving $2.7 million in fraudulent income tax refunds using the names and identities of people listed with several state agencies.
The declaration by a Secret Service agent was filed in a civil forfeiture case by the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Middle District of Florida. The document accuses Bryan A. Copeland of Orange Park, Fla., and six co-conspirators of filing 860 fake tax returns between 2006 and 2009 using counterfeit W-2 forms, according to the Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville.
Copeland and the others allegedly used the names and Social Security numbers of people found in the databases of the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Department of Juvenile Justice, including children. They then had the refunds mailed to addresses in Jacksonville or deposited in bank accounts controlled by Copeland. One of his associates allegedly received 225 tax refund checks totaling $239,000 in the mail for him.
Agents filed the declaration in an effort to recover some of the money from the sale of a Mercedes-Benz that had been bought for Copelands father. However, Copelands father had sold the car in order to help pay for his sons legal bills as well as his own 17 pit bull terriers, and they were able to recover only part of the money.
Agents also seized two dozen vehicles from Copelands wifes car lot. The day they raided the car lot in February, they noticed Copeland driving away and followed him. They saw him stop on the shoulder of a bridge and try to throw a pair of backpacks off the bridge into a river. The bags landed on the bridge, however, and agents were able to recover four laptops, financial and tax information, and blank tax forms. Copeland was charged by authorities with felony fleeing and is currently free on bail.
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