William Joseph

William Joseph gets prison in Fla. tax theft

WilliamJoseph
MIAMI (AP) - Former NFL lineman William Joseph has been sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for his role in a South Florida tax theft ring.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams also ordered Joseph on Friday to pay a $10,800 fine and complete 300 hours of community service after his release from prison. Joseph pleaded guilty in August to aggravated identity theft and theft of government money charges.

Joseph is the third former football player sentenced in the scheme, which involved an FBI undercover check-cashing store in which the men cashed some $500,000 in fraudulent tax refund checks.

Joseph played for the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders. Previously sentenced were former Minnesota Vikings first-round Michael Bennett to 15 months and ex-Syracuse University player Louis Gacheline, who got 28 months.


Bookmark and Share
(kswt.com)
Comments

William Joseph faces prison in Miami FBI tax-fraud case

WilliamJoseph
Former NFL lineman William Joseph, who starred at the University of Miami, will likely head to prison Friday after he is sentenced for his identity-theft and tax-fraud conviction in federal court.

Joseph, who played defensive tackle in the National Football League for much of the past decade, faces up to three years behind bars. He is being sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams.

Joseph and other defendants — including a former Oakland Raider teammate, running back Michael Bennett — were convicted of either cashing dozens of fraudulently obtained tax-refund checks in other peoples’ names or seeking a loan with fake collateral. Their take totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to court records.

Joseph, 32, of Miramar, cut a plea deal in late August that could lower his potential sentence.

He pleaded guilty to theft of government money and aggravated identity theft, the latter of which carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence.

He admitted cashing a $10,088 Treasury Department refund check in the name of a person with the initials “I.P.” at a check-cashing store in North Miami in April, according to his plea agreement.

Unbeknownst to him, the store was a front for an FBI undercover operation.


Bookmark and Share
(miamiherald.com)
Comments

William Joseph Pleads Guilty, Awaits Sentence

WilliamJoseph
Former Raiders RB Michael Bennett has received a 15-month federal sentence for taking part in a Florida fraud scheme.

Bennett was arrested in May as part of an identity theft ring that conspired to file false tax returns. The group allegedly cashed about $500,000 in fraudulent tax refund checks. Former Raiders and New York Giants DT William Joseph and former Syracuse player Louis Gacheline also have pleaded guilty to related charges and are awaiting sentencing.


Bookmark and Share
(rotoworld.com)
Comments

William Joseph to plead guilty to tax-related fraud charges in Miami

WilliamJoseph
William Joseph, a University of Miami defensive tackle who played in the NFL for much of the past decade, plans to plead guilty to tax-related fraud charges in federal court Friday.

Joseph and others — including former Oakland Raider teammate, running back Michael Bennett — are accused of cashing dozens of fraudulently obtained tax-refund checks and seeking a loan with fake collateral. Their take totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to court records.

Joseph, 32, of Miramar, has agreed to plead guilty to theft of government money and aggravated identity theft, the latter of which carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence.

“He recognizes the mistake he made, and he is going to take responsibility for his actions and do what he can to repair his good name,” Joseph’s attorney, Roderick Vereen, told The Miami Herald Thursday.

Earlier this year, FBI agents faked out the two ex-NFL football players and a former local high school star by setting up a check-cashing store “front” in North Miami. The undercover operation sacked:

• Joseph, who was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants in 2003 and last played with the Oakland Raiders in 2010;

• Bennett, a University of Wisconsin running back who also was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2001 and finished his career with the Raiders in 2011. Bennett, 33, of Tampa, pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge in August, and;

• Louis Gachelin, a Miami Jackson High and Syracuse University defensive lineman who signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots in 2004. Gachelin never made the final roster. In July, Gachelin, 31, of Miramar, pleaded guilty to theft of government money and aggravated ID theft.

Authorities say the tax-fraud case, while unique because of the ex-NFL defendants, is yet another example of the escalating number of reported identity-theft crimes in Florida and nationwide.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer has described identity theft as “America’s fastest-growing crime,” claiming thousands of legitimate consumers and taxpayers as victims, especially in the Miami and Tampa areas.

In May, Joseph, Gachelin and five other defendants were charged with cashing a total of about $500,000 in fraudulently obtained tax-refund checks, forging signatures on the checks and unlawfully using identification documents such as a driver’s license. As part of the sting, the FBI charged 35 percent to 45 percent in fees to cash the checks.

Bennett tried to obtain a $200,000 loan in April from the FBI’s fake check-cashing store, using a UBS financial statement falsely showing that he had $9 million in collateral, according to court records. It was Bennett’s former Raiders’ teammate, Joseph, who introduced him to the undercover store in North Miami.

Joseph was tripped up by another defendant, Lanny Fried, 34, of Miami Lakes, who got caught trying to cash checks at the store and then began cooperating with agents to target the former NFL player. In July, Fried also pleaded guilty to theft of government money and aggravated ID theft.

In his plea agreement, Fried admitted he knew that several checks he brought to the store had been fraudulently obtained.

Here’s the root of the problem: Scammers filing fabricated tax returns have exploited a hole in the IRS electronic filing system, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The federal watchdog agency found that the Internal Revenue Service does not match tax returns to the W-2 income forms that employers file until months after the filing season ends on April 15. Employers file them in late February or early March; the IRS does not match them up with employees’ incomes reported on 1040 forms until June.

That’s way too late to catch identity thieves who file false returns in other people’s names early in the year and have already received and cashed the refund check.

The GAO says the number of ID theft-related fraud incidents on tax returns hit 248,000 in 2010, about five times more than in 2008.

According to the Treasury Department, that figure has since soared. In May, a Treasury inspector general testified the IRS reported that about 940,000 tax returns with refunds totaling $6.5 billion involved identity theft.

Those 2011 returns accounted for 42 percent of about 2.2 million “fraudulent” tax returns that year, according to the IRS.


Bookmark and Share
(miamiherald.com)
Comments

William Joseph's Hearing Set For Next Week

WilliamJoseph
MIAMI -- Former Minnesota Viking Michael Bennett has pleaded guilty to his role in a South Florida tax refund and identity theft scheme.

Court records show Bennett pleaded guilty last week to one count of wire fraud. As part of a plea agreement, federal prosecutors agreed to recommend less than the possible 20-year sentence.

Prosecutors say the FBI operated an undercover check-cashing store in North Miami used by Bennett and seven others -- including two other former football players -- from February through April. The group allegedly cashed about $500,000 in fraudulent refund checks.

Former Oakland Raiders and New York Giants defensive tackle William Joseph has a change of plea hearing scheduled for next week. Louis Gachelin, who played professionally in Europe, previously pleaded guilty to theft charges.


Bookmark and Share
(espn.com)
Comments

William Joseph faces ID theft, tax fraud charges

WilliamJoseph
FBI agents faked out a couple of ex-NFL football players and a former local high school star by setting up a check-cashing store “front” in North Miami, where the players are accused of cashing dozens of fraudulently obtained tax-refund checks and seeking a loan — all totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The undercover operation, designed to block an alleged identity-theft and tax-refund scheme, sacked a pair of National Football League veterans and a Miami Jackson High graduate:

•  William Joseph, a University of Miami defensive tackle who was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants in 2003 and last played with the Oakland Raiders in 2010.

•  Michael Bennett, a University of Wisconsin running back who also was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2001 and finished his career with the Raiders in 2011.

• Louis Gachelin, a Miami Jackson High and Syracuse University defensive lineman who signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots in 2004. Gachelin never made the final roster.

Authorities say the latest tax-related fraud case, while unique because of the ex-NFL defendants, is yet another example of the escalating number of reported identity-theft crimes in South Florida and nationwide.

FBI agents arrested the three former players — Joseph, 32, of Miramar, Gachelin, 31, of Miramar, and Bennett, 33, of Tampa — on Monday. The defendants were granted bonds Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Dube.

Arraignments are set for May 15. Their lawyers declined to comment.

As part of the investigation, the FBI also arrested five other defendants Monday.

Joseph, Gachelin and those five defendants were charged with cashing a total of about $500,000 in fraudulently obtained tax-refund checks, forging signatures on the checks and unlawfully using identification documents such as a driver’s license. As part of the sting, the FBI charged 35 percent to 45 percent in fees to cash their checks with the bureau’s own funds.

Bennett, charged with wire fraud, tried to obtain a $200,000 loan on April 18 from the check-cashing store front, using a UBS financial statement falsely showing that he had $9 million in collateral for the loan, according to a criminal complaint. Ironically, it was Bennett’s former Raiders’ teammate, Joseph, who introduced him to the undercover store in North Miami.

Joseph himself was tripped up by another defendant, Lanny Fried, 34, of Miami Lakes, who got caught trying to cash checks at the store front and then began cooperating with agents to target the former NFL player.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said identity theft is “America’s fastest-growing crime,” claiming countless legitimate consumers and taxpayers as victims.

“Organized criminals are stealing $5 billion and more by fraudulently claiming tax refunds,” said John V. Gillies, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami office.

Gillies took a slight jab at the Internal Revenue Service, which has been pressured by Congress to speed up electronic refunds but has not installed ample software protections against ID theft and fraud.

“Without proper safeguards, identity theft tax fraud has become a growing epidemic,” Gillies said.

Here’s the root of the problem: Scammers filing fabricated tax returns have exploited a hole in the IRS electronic filing system, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The federal watchdog agency found that the IRS does not actually match tax returns to the W-2 income forms that employers file until months after the filing season ends on April 15. Employers file them at the end of February or early March, but the agency does not match them up with employees’ incomes reported on 1040 forms until June.

That’s way too late to catch identity thieves who file false returns in others’ names early in the year.

The GAO reports that the number of identity theft-related fraud incidents on tax returns reached 248,000 in 2010, about five times more than in 2008.


Bookmark and Share
(miamiherald.com)
Comments