Calling him a "master" of theft, deception and fraud, U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall sentenced Anthony Davila to nearly a decade in prison for a fraud scheme that cost taxpayers almost a half-million dollars.
Davila, 45, chose to stand silent -- replying only "No, sir" to the judge's request for a statement -- as his sentence was given. He pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy in May. Authorities said Davila operated a scheme in Augusta from Jan. 1, 2005, to Dec. 31, 2007, in which he stole Florida prison inmates' identities and used them to file 120 false income tax returns.
He searched the Florida Department of Corrections Web site to find inmates serving terms of more than 15 years, authorities said. He then called court clerks' offices and used that information from the Web site to obtain the inmates' birth dates and Social Security numbers.
Davila used the Florida Secretary of State's Web page to find the tax identity numbers for large corporations registered in the state and obtained employer identification numbers. With that information, he crafted fake W2 forms and tax returns, authorities said.
Federal agents found that 87 tax-return checks were sent to 14 bank accounts set up in Davila's name.
As part of his plea to the conspiracy charge, the court dismissed the other 33 counts against Davila, including charges of aggravated identity theft, mail fraud and filing false income tax claims.
Speaking to Davila, Hall said the defendant's criminal record was extensive and earned him a "walk of fame in federal court in terms of criminal activity."
"Clearly it (the tax scheme) is not your first rodeo," he said.
In addition to his prison term, Davila was ordered to pay $423,530.63 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Because it's unlikely he will be able to repay the full sum, a monthly payment plan was set up for him while incarcerated and for when he is released.