WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — Keith Joseph, of Miami, Fla., has admitted to committing wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said.
Joseph, 37, pleaded guilty today to one count of ‘wire fraud’ and one count of ‘aggravated identity theft’. Joseph admitted to fraudulently accessing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) online taxpayer authentication system, whose servers are located in Berkeley County, from March 2015 to March 2017. Joseph obtained information from personal identification of taxpayers without their knowledge to access the IRS online taxpayer. system. Once he gained access, Joseph illegally obtained income tax transcripts and fraudulently filed tax returns using the taxpayers’ personally identifiable information.
As part of the plea deal, Joseph agreed to pay $142,237 in restitution.
Joseph faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the wire fraud count and two years in prison for the aggravated impersonation count. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based on the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Shawn M. Adkins is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The Cybercrime Investigations Division of the Treasury Inspector General of the Tax Authority investigated.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. Mazzone presided.