Miami Resident Convicted In Stolen ID, Tax Refund Scheme

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A Miami man was convicted  in a stolen identity tax refund scheme which could possibly land him behind bars for 20 years.

Cliffort Variste, 34, of Miami, was convicted by a federal jury of one count of access device fraud and five counts of aggravated identity theft.

According to the indictment and evidence, Variste obtained an IRS Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) and used it to file 52 fraudulent tax returns, many filed with stolen identities.

Variste then used the returns to get fraudulent income tax refunds and deposited them onto prepaid debit cards which he used to make numerous withdrawals and purchases.

The fraudulent debit cards were issued in the names of real people whose identities were stolen as part of the scheme.

Variste’s sentencing is scheduled for June 5th.

He faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison for the access device charge, and a mandatory term of two years in prison for each aggravated identity theft charge.


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