For a guy without a job and living with his parents in North Miami-Dade, 23-year-old Nick Rickey Choute seemed quite flush, judging from the $3,250 cash federal investigators found in his bedroom.
They also found several cell phones and a notebook containing 2,587 names, birth dates and Social Security numbers. Choute employed himself in a government job of sorts, as in getting government money illegally by filing for other people’s tax refunds.
Which is why Choute got sentenced to five years and four months in federal prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to one count of fraudulent use of access devices; one count of possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices; and three counts of aggravated identity theft. He also received some personal debt between $191,280 in restitution and losing $452,006 in a forfeiture money judgment.
According to Choute’s admission of facts, he filed for $418,191 in refunds in 2015 in the names of 152 people. He received $214,746. When he went back to that fraud well a year later, he filed for $33,000, but that money got put on an identity theft hold.
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His iPad mini showed visits to TurboTax’s site, as well as the sites irs.gov and beenverified.com — a site with address and personal identification information.