A former Richmond County sheriff’s deputy who gathered and sold the personal identity of people he encountered on the job was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday.
Sean Lydell Street, 39, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall to 24 months in prison for stealing personal identification information to be used as part of a fraudulent tax refund scheme, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Evidence presented during the guilty plea and sentencing hearings indicated Street worked for the sheriff’s office from 2007 through 2012. During the last part of 2011 and the first part of 2012, Street used the personal identification information of more than 100 people to create a list containing the name, birth date and Social Security number of each person. Street then passed the list to an acquaintance, knowing the information would be used to file fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. In exchange, Street hoped to gain at least $1,000 per stolen identity.
The information from Street’s list was used to file 76 bogus tax returns that claimed $414,826 in false refunds, and $76,424 in refunds was paid out before the fraud was exposed.
“Aggravated identity theft and stolen identity tax refund fraud are serious crimes that have serious consequences,” U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver said. “Mr. Street is now walking a different beat on the way to federal prison.”
Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, the special agent in charge of the IRS criminal investigation, said: “Mr. Street exploited his position as a law enforcement officer for his own personal financial gain, which came at the expense of the community he was entrusted to serve. This sentence is a message to others that there are consequences to stealing and using other individual’s personal identifying information.”