Join me to hear an epic story of a 10 person RICO tax fraud ring that tried make over $45m over 4 years! This is eCrimeBytes Season 3 Episode 2, An Epic Florida Gang’s RICO Tax Fraud – Act 2: The Companies.
Check out act 1 for the background:
- https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65406206/united-states-v-jacques/ (Jacques)
- https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65406207/united-states-v-jacques/ (Jenkins)
- https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65406212/united-states-v-jacques/ (Cherelus)
- https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65757674/united-states-v-jacques/ (Jean-Louis)
- https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65761426/united-states-v-jacques/ (Jolteus)
- https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65406211/united-states-v-jacques/ (Poix)
- https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65406208/united-states-v-jacques/ (Michel)
- https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65406209/united-states-v-jacques/ (Propht-Francisque)
- https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65406210/united-states-v-jacques/ (Elan)
00:00:10:00 – 00:00:35:38
What’s up, you crazy bastards? Welcome back to eCrimeBytes. This is where I research the court documentation and roast the criminals so you don’t have to. So this week I’m bringing you season three episode two. This is an epic, epic RICO conspiracy Tax fraud ring. And I know, I know some people, they just jump in right here in act two, which is what you’re on right now.
00:00:35:42 – 00:00:49:22
If you’re on YouTube and you want to jump back and watch the whole episode, which is really what I recommend because I go through all the background. I’m gonna put a link up here for you so you can actually click on the episode link and start from the beginning. If you want to plow on. Hey, I don’t blame you.
00:00:49:23 – 00:01:13:52
Sometimes I do that. I got to give you a little bit of background, though, because I can’t get into some of the topics here and try to reexplain things. I got to give you a background on what happened in Act One, which is the individuals. So in Act One, what I did is I brought you some background that there’s this crime ring of ten individuals, nine alive, of them one dead, the dead one’s name is Rich forever.
00:01:13:57 – 00:01:51:19
That’s his moniker, it’s hard to forget. Well, anyways, they set up these tax preparation services to file false tax returns. And where do they get information while they get it from stolen data from CPA firms that they purchased compromised account information from. So imagine this. Imagine I’m a victim as a tax firm. They would buy compromised account information and log into my networks, steal my customer data, then sometimes even come back into my network.
00:01:51:19 – 00:02:15:37
Use that stolen customer data, file false tax returns using that customer data and send it to accounts that they own. Kind of devious, right? So this this is what this crew did. And what I did in act one is I went through each person and talked about what their what their role was in this organized crime ring that I’m talking about.
00:02:15:51 – 00:02:37:43
So this act two. What I’m going to talk about now is the companies, because they came together as a crew and then made the companies do some stuff criminally to get some money. And this is what I’m gonna explain to you today. So let’s get right into this. So there are some corporate entities involved in here, and I do not bother trying to memorize any of these names.
00:02:37:43 – 00:02:56:43
It’s not worth it. I, I can’t memorize things. And even trying to keep them straight to, to describe you and so you can keep them memorized would, I didn’t know how to do it. So I’m going to give you a flavor of some of their names. And all these are the criminal enterprise names of these real fake companies that they set up.
00:02:56:48 – 00:03:22:11
But there’s a bunch of victims, too. So there’s a bunch of companies involved here. So let me give you a flavor of the fake criminal ones. They set up this one called Edvert EDVERT edvert tax prep. They set up another one called FSL Multi Services, another one called Yvelene Tax Solutions. Morton Fast Refund. SC Accounting and Tax Services.
00:03:22:16 – 00:03:42:09
Chantol Multiservices. And that’s just a flavor of the ones that that criminal enterprise set up. They also broke in to at least 14 other businesses that are in the tax preparation business that became their victims. So you’re going to be hearing me talk about like business one and business seven. These are victims that they broke into.
00:03:42:14 – 00:04:01:07
Okay. So there’s a lot of companies involved. There’s not just one. There are a lot of victims. And then there are a lot of companies that were set up just for the criminal purpose. So let’s talk a little bit about Edvert. We’ll take this one a little more in depth and then we’ll kind of just talk generally about the other ones.
00:04:01:12 – 00:04:33:39
Edvert around 2016, specifically January to April ish, Jacques, Elan, Jenkins and Propht and Rich Forever and others in the crew. They filed over 1000 tax returns, claiming more than $5.1 million of tax refunds into accounts they controlled. Right there, right there that is a ton of money. They could have. I mean, if they got $5 million, they could have stopped, right?
00:04:33:41 – 00:04:50:20
I mean, they’re not that big of a crew. They could they’d be like a half a million apiece at that point. That’s a lot of money. They didn’t stop there. They went and stole more money. So I know. $5 million is a lot. This is just a it’s just a drop in the bucket of what they tried to steal.
00:04:50:25 – 00:05:14:10
So they also, in 2015 didn’t just like set it up on paper. They made this thing look real. They set up a physical office space. They had a phone, they had Internet. They have email address called Edvert tax prep at Yahoo dot com. They did what they could to make this business look legit when it was people like the IRS sending them money.
00:05:14:10 – 00:05:40:10
Right? They wanted to look like a legit tax preparation service of some sort. So that way an investigation doesn’t start. They also set up an EFIN and PTIN, which is the filing numbers you need as a tax preparation service. They set those up. They were stolen victim information. So you can imagine it wasn’t Monika Jenkins’s name as the PTIN.
00:05:40:10 – 00:06:03:50
It was a PTIN of some victim of identity that this crew stole. So this victim is probably a double victim because they look like the tax preparer, but they also likely have their tax filing go through as well. It looked like they used one victim for a PTIN up to one point and then they switched to a second victim for the another.
00:06:03:54 – 00:06:44:00
And so they were definitely busy in this company. There were multiple instances where this dead person rich forever sent email to others in the enterprise with personally identifiable information of the victims. Soon after, those conspirators would take that PII and file false tax returns in those victims names through Edvert into accounts that this criminal enterprise controlled so they would get the money back. The criminal enterprise would, so partway through 2016, the court documents noted that rich forever purchased compromised accounts for a real CPA firm.
00:06:44:05 – 00:07:09:39
So like the Keith Jones Tax preparation service, they stole information from the server to then file for fraudulent tax returns through this fraudulent preparation service called Edvert. All right. So I hope you follow me. So far, that’s one thread of the of the crime right there through Edvert. There’s a there’s a lot of threads here. Let me talk about another one.
00:07:09:44 – 00:07:38:12
They hijacked the EFINs of other real legitimate CPAs. We’ll just call them business one and business two, because that’s what the court paperwork called them. This is around 2016, January, February. Propht, Jenkins, Rich forever and others, they filed 175 tax returns through hijacked EFINs claiming more than $1.1 million into accounts that they controlled. Now, you probably might wonder what a hijacked EFIN is.
00:07:38:17 – 00:08:15:16
Imagine if Keith Jones’s tax preparation service is now compromised and somebody broke into my server and they could file tax returns under my name. That’s a hijacked EFIN. So, that’s what they did here. They would break into CPAs and then file tax returns through those victims, CPAs even, and PTIN numbers. So later on in the year, Jenkins and others, they filed an additional 296 returns through hijacked EFINs of business two, this was $2 million in refunds.
00:08:15:16 – 00:08:41:12
So I have been doing the math, but I think I’ve said five some odd million upfront. Now we got 1.1 million here, another 2 million here. So I think we’re up to almost, what, eight, 9 million? This crew is on a tear. So, again, the PII, the identifiable information used to make these fraudulent tax returns came from compromised CPA firms purchased from the Dark Web.
00:08:41:16 – 00:08:59:59
They didn’t have to compromise any place. They just bought access and then stole the information. There were several CPA firms across the United States that they broke into. I did see that there was one in Minnesota and there was one in New Jersey. They weren’t named. And thankfully, they hopefully they shouldn’t be because they’re victims.
00:08:59:59 – 00:09:21:27
Now, February 24th of 2016, there was a footnote about this remote desktop protocol that I have been talking about kind of waving my hands a few times. This is where this is a thing on computers where you can log in to a computer remotely and you can see their desktop. That’s why it’s called remote desktop protocol. You can see the desktop like you’re sitting there.
00:09:21:31 – 00:09:54:06
So what happened was coconspirators would have access through this protocol to compromised servers at these CPA firms, these victims. So you would see in the investigation later on people like Jenkins, she sent a coconspirator an email message with a photo of a laptop that was actively using this protocol. This remote desktop protocol. I got to hold my head here. To intrude into business number two.
00:09:54:20 – 00:10:11:00
So it’s like she took a picture of the crime and sent it to one of her coconspirators. Imagine the dead body picture. This is what it is in the digital sense. I don’t have these pictures. They weren’t in the court paperwork. Usually they’ll put them in the paperwork and show it in the public documents. They didn’t in this case.
00:10:11:00 – 00:10:34:26
So fortunately, I can’t bring them to you. I don’t know if I would with victim information. Anyways, I probably have to blur that out. But anyways, March 4th, 2016 Jenkins emailed a coconspirator PII that was stolen from business number two with a note. God. I got to read this verbatim. Prepare yourself. Now put your ear really close to the speaker.
00:10:34:26 – 00:11:02:50
Everybody, just trust me on this one. This is what the message said. I got to read it verbatim. Here it comes. DO THOSE SEND MORE AT 2 a.m. That’s literally what all caps it says. Do those send more at and then in lowercase two AM. So really she was supposed to capitalize am and she lowercased it and that really capitalize everything else and she capitalized that.
00:11:02:50 – 00:11:25:08
I don’t know why, but she did. If I could interpret this, if I can interpret this in criminal speak, I think she’s saying, do the crimes on the PII that’s attached here and I will send you more at 2 a.m.. I don’t know that for a fact. It wasn’t in her head, but that’s what the criminal speak, I do a little bit of translation and that’s what it says to me.
00:11:25:13 – 00:11:47:55
The coconspirators, they used the stolen PII the Jenkins sent them, and they created these false tax returns and they, they filed them through the EFIN of business number two, meaning one of those victims, CPA firms, they filed it so it looked like it came through the victim instead of even one of the criminal organizations that they set up.
00:11:47:55 – 00:12:15:42
So there’s another hijack EFIN of a business. One of these CPA victims. Propht he purchased credentials into a compromised server for one of the victims and Propht, Cherelus, Rich forever and others they file 330 false tax returns through that hijacked event of another business. This is in 2017, and they were claiming more than 1.4 million in refunds.
00:12:15:47 – 00:12:43:53
My God. Add that to the eight or nine that I talked about earlier and you’re up to what, like ten now? So PII for the false tax returns came from compromise CPA firms in Nevada, in Michigan, in Iowa, in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. All these victims had their their credentials were purchased via the Darkweb, via this marketplace, via this gang that I’m bringing to you in this episode.
00:12:43:58 – 00:13:15:13
Now, there’s a lot of stuff that happens. And this whole collection of companies that this group sets up to do tax preparation fraudulently. I’m not going to run you through every company name and every instance. This is where I couldn’t do this chronologically for you. I can tell you in 2017 a lot of shit happened. Okay. Jacques, Elan, Poix, Rich Forever and others they file 661 returns claiming more than $3 million through one company.
00:13:15:13 – 00:13:36:56
They set up the crew. They file 455 returns, claiming more than $2.4 million to another company they set up . I’m not trying to get in the details here. I just want to let you know how many times they did it and what the amounts were. It’s staggering. So what are we up to? We’re up to ten plus three, ten plus 2.4.
00:13:36:56 – 00:14:03:13
So we’re up to about 15 ish million. Well, they go on. They file another 828 returns, claiming more than 4.5 million. So we’re almost up to 20 million at this point. They then file another 303 returns, claiming more than 1.5 million. So they’re up to almost 22 million at this point. Now, the common thread is all the PII was stolen through the CPA firms.
00:14:03:13 – 00:14:32:08
It wasn’t. It was real people, but it wasn’t real data. They also use the victims for the preparer ID numbers. So these poor victims had to deal with clearing their names with that as well. And I don’t have every instance to tell you, but trust me, there was a lot of emails sent between the coconspirators about all this shit that they did with pictures of open connections and tax information and all this stuff that I’ve talked about in other instances upfront.
00:14:32:20 – 00:15:03:56
They did it again. They didn’t stop. They did it again all through 2017. Now I want to stop and give you a real quick footnote of this whole crime. They tried to make this thing look so real that they even faked tax preparer fees. So what they did is they made it look like they actually charged these victims money to prepare the fake fraudulent returns.
00:15:04:01 – 00:15:23:06
So they looked real enough to the IRS. So it was like they were getting the returns and then they were getting the preparation fees back as well. And there were substantial substantial. I mean, it was in the tens of thousands of dollars at the end that the government categorized for this particular part of the crime.
00:15:23:06 – 00:15:30:10
So immediately I was wondering, I was like, my God, they do they pay taxes on that, do they?
00:15:30:14 – 00:15:58:32
They didn’t say in the court paperwork. But I wonder just out of my own curiosity, do they file corporate taxes on those preparer fees or something? If not I didn’t see the charges. Well, maybe they can hit them on the tax evasion as well. Who knows? It’s just the amounts here are staggering. So there’s some withdrawals. So when cash actually made it to cash, there were some withdrawals that this crew made. Cherelus was tagged with at least $27,000 worth of withdrawals.
00:15:58:37 – 00:16:29:02
Michelle was tagged with at least $19,000 and Jack as tagged with another $19,000, all in cash from these debit cards, these ATM prepaid debit cards that I talk to you about earlier. And I’ll pop that chart that I talked about earlier to just give you a flavor again of some of these deposits in the ATM. And I will say the same lighthearted joke again, I didn’t even know you could withdraw this much from ATM.
00:16:29:03 – 00:16:52:30
I read this chart like this as each ATM withdrawal. So if this is true and it’s from 2000 to about 7 to $8000, I don’t even know you could get thousands of dollars out of an ATM. It’s amazing. And you can see all the names in the fifth column over there from the coconspirators. And who made these withdrawals.
00:16:52:34 – 00:17:17:26
Now the pattern continues. It didn’t stop. There’s a bunch of other businesses. There’s business six and seven. They had their EFINs hijacked as well. They had 57 tax returns coming out of business, seven for approximately a quarter million dollars. Again, all the PII came back from these hacked places. So this is a clear pattern for this gang. There were some self prepared returns.
00:17:17:26 – 00:17:46:14
I talked about those earlier on. They happened around 2017. Business eight. They had their EFIN hijacked too. 214 returns came out of them fraudulently. That was $1.5 million. So we’re well into that $20 million tally at this point. Another one of the fraudulent businesses they set up had 440 returns or 441 returns totaling more than $2.2 million in refunds.
00:17:46:19 – 00:18:07:41
Jesus this is so much money. Business nine they had their EFIN hijacked. There was 109 returns there for a half million dollars. Business ten. They had their EFIN hijacked. 146 returns there for approximately a half million dollars. If you add all this up and I didn’t even bring you everything, I just tried to, trust me, this is the highlights.
00:18:07:46 – 00:18:47:30
$45 million over four years. Now, the IRS said to them, I guess tangibly, I guess they must have paid out some $7 million. So the IRS, at the end of the day, $7 million of fraud happened to them. But if you add up the fraud, if they would have gotten their way and gotten all the money out of all those refunds, they would have gotten $45 million, which I think probably dwarfs most of the other tax cases I’ve covered in these episodes I brought to you. September 7th, 2022.
00:18:47:30 – 00:19:09:57
There’s an indictment that comes out. There are six counts in this indictment. The first count, which is the biggest, is the RICO conspiracy. This is how I was able to bring this whole case to you. Was this count because they outlined everything they did, how they talked to each other, sent emails and stuff. It was a fascinating read.
00:19:10:02 – 00:19:35:48
Counts two through three conspiracy to commit wire fraud. I think this is mostly for sending the data over interstate communications. If memory serves me not everybody was charged with counts two and three and counts four and six. Counts four and six. This is your aggravated identity theft because they stole victim information and then later on used it. So I’m not going to bring you a play by play
00:19:35:48 – 00:19:55:48
but of what happened with the law enforcement cause I didn’t have it, first of all. And second, it’s a group of ten people. So a lot of different things happened all different times. I can tell you that eight people went in and just said, Fuck it, I’m guilty. I’m guilty. I will give you that list. Right now it’s Cherelus, it’s Jacques.
00:19:55:48 – 00:20:29:03
It’s Jean Louis, Jenkins, Jolteus, Michel, Poix, and Propht-Francisque. I know I murdered them. I’m trying people. I’m trying. Now that’s everybody that said I’m guilty right off the bat there. There are two people left over because I just gave you eight, right? Rich forever died. So he was never charged. He just stays the moniker rich forever. And we don’t know who he is as a as an actual human being.
00:20:29:08 – 00:20:57:45
That leaves Dickenson Elan. Dickenson Elan went to trial, jury came back, said um your jury, or said, you’re guilty fucker. And so you know, he I don’t think he bought much by going to trial from what I read now since everybody basically either pled guilty or was found guilty except for rich forever who died, which is probably punishment enough. There was sentencing and it happened all different times.
00:20:57:50 – 00:21:15:15
I have some charts I want to put on the screen for you. This is a chart that the DOJ released in their press release, and I think it sums up this case pretty well. I’m going to go through it for you, especially for audio only listeners, so you can get a flavor here. So it’s it’s basically four, four columns.
00:21:15:15 – 00:21:34:24
It’s just who the person is, what their status in the case is, what offense they’re being charged with, or pled, or whatever to. And then the sentence for it. So let’s start with the first row. The first row is Louisaint and he pled guilty on July 6, 2022. The offense was RICO conspiracy. That was the count one.
00:21:34:29 – 00:22:05:23
His sentence, nine years, two months, 2.9 thousand I’m sorry, $2.9 million in restitution wholly fuck balls. That’s a lot of money to have to pay back. Right. Let’s go to Jean Poix here. He pled guilty in August 29th of 2023. So well over a year later, RICO conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. So I would expect his sentence is going to be more right.
00:22:05:28 – 00:22:32:51
It is ten years and ten months in prison and just over $130,000 in restitution. Jesus, not as bad as 2.9 for Louisaint. Right. But still, I don’t know how you pay back 130,000 as an ex-con. That’s probably we can debate that on a different episode. We have Monika Shauntel Jenkins. She was the only lady in this group, and she had her hand in everything.
00:22:32:53 – 00:22:59:17
She pled guilty on September 18th, 2023. So pretty recent RICO conspiracy and aggravated I.D. theft. She gets 87 months of prison, which I had to do the math. You can see it right above. It’s 7.25. So seven and a quarter year. She is three months, I’m sorry, three years of supervised release. And she has a staggering $3.3 million in restitution.
00:22:59:22 – 00:23:35:15
Now, we have Jean-Louis pled guilty on August 31st of 2023, RICO Conspiracy, an aggravated I.D. theft, 8.5 years, which is 102 months in prison, three years supervised release, and a staggering $2.5 million in restitution. Then we have Michel pled guilty July 25th, 2023, RICO Conspiracy and Aggravated ID Theft seven years in prison. I’m sorry, seven years three months in prison.
00:23:35:20 – 00:24:07:25
A staggering $1.9 million in restitution. We now have Propht he pled guilty on August 29th, 2023, to just RICO conspiracy. Four years in prison, a staggering $2.5 million in restitution. All right. So we have our last three. And the last three here, they haven’t been sentenced yet. They’re they have sentencing. Actually, two of them are about the time I’m recording this podcast and the other one will be in a few weeks.
00:24:07:25 – 00:24:36:47
So hopefully we can do an update on sentencing on these three. So we have Andi, Andi Jacques pled guilty on August 23rd of 2023 for RICO conspiracy and aggravated ID theft. Dickenson Elan. That was the individual that went to guilty… found guilty on November six, 2023, of RICO conspiracy and then Vladimyr Cherelus pled guilty on September 18th, 2023, to RICO conspiracy, but still hasn’t been sentenced.
00:24:36:56 – 00:25:01:02
So we’re still waiting for sentencing. And all three of those. That’s it. That’s the case. So some final thoughts here. Final thought. One is it didn’t take a lot of computer security knowledge to pull this crime off. Really? Did did I say any exploits? Did I say, you know, social engineering? Did I say, like all the complicated stuff that I’ve talked about in previous episodes?
00:25:01:07 – 00:25:23:01
No, I said they walked in, they slapped down some money in a forum and they got compromised accounts and they logged into those accounts, which isn’t hard to do because you have a username and password and then you get to town pilfering client data and filing tax returns and all the other stuff that they were caught doing. This was a huge operation.
00:25:23:06 – 00:25:58:49
Millions of dollars involved, ten people involved. One died in the process. So nine people at the end of the day were caught and either pled guilty or were caught and convicted. So if you say each server is about $1,000 to get compromised credentials into the CPA firms for each server, that’s a hell of a return, right? If you can get a couple million dollars off a one server and you only paid $1,000 to get compromised credentials and do it, that’s a huge return.
00:25:58:56 – 00:26:16:56
Huge return. So I just my gut reaction when I looked at the sentencing and here it seemed very much in line with the other cases that I brought to you. But there was nothing that really stuck out in my mind where I went, that was way out of line. But it will be interesting to see what Elan’s sentencing is because Elan was the only one that went to trial.
00:26:16:57 – 00:26:45:08
Everybody else pled guilty. So some of the bigger sentencing in there, it was in the ten year range. So it’ll be interesting to see if if Elan’s in that ten year range as well. So with that, before I give you a preview of next week, which you’re going to want, I need to remind you, please like subscribe, follow, thumbs up, share whatever it is that’s positive on your application you’re watching me on.
00:26:45:08 – 00:27:04:52
I would really appreciate it just to put me in front of eyeballs of other people that would appreciate Electronic True Crime podcasts that I don’t take too seriously. I make some jokes at it and stuff like that. So if you think somebody would enjoy that, please do share this with them. And in the meantime, do like, subscribe, follow the thumbs up, all the positive things that you can do.
00:27:05:06 – 00:27:28:36
I appreciate that. That’s pretty much the only thing I can imagine I’ll ever ask if you guys. So with that, let me give you a real quick tour of next week. Next week I’m going to bring you Season three, Episode three. This is fresh out of the news. Fresh out of the news. I’ve been watching this for a while, and then his sentencing just happened, so I’m going to research it and bring it to you.
00:27:28:41 – 00:27:55:36
This is like fresh squeezed orange juice next week. It’s this just happened. So I don’t even have the research fully done on this. I’m going to finish researching it. I’m gonna record it. I’m going to bring it to you next week. It’s called Hacking with Sebastien Raoult, a.k.a. ShinyHunters. So this is all over the news. Sounds like an interesting case, and I’ll try to get as much detail of the case from the public documentation, present it here and give you a little flavor of what happened.
00:27:55:40 – 00:27:59:53
So I hope to see you then next week. Thanks. Bye.