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IRS investigators see two more identity theft convictions

Published Nov. 5, 2013

TAMPA — One offered up a stack of Navy blood donor records. Another lifted identities from a New Jersey doctor's office.

Two men with links to the Tampa Bay area have been found guilty of aggravated identity theft and other charges related to stolen identity tax refund fraud.

Berness Swan, 44, of Spring Hill admitted in a New Jersey courtroom on Friday to stealing patient identities from a clinic in Mount Laurel, N.J., where he worked from 2009 to 2012, and collecting $120,000 in fraudulent tax refunds. He faces two years in prison on an identity theft charge and up to 10 years on a charge of theft of government property when sentenced Feb. 7.

Kenyon Lamont Williams, a 43-year-old San Diego tax preparer who took his chances on a jury trial in Tampa last week, was convicted of five counts punishable by up to 49 years, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The government said Williams learned from two Tampa women how to file false refund claims using a scheme involving interest income and then duped the IRS out of $517,744. For his part, Williams gave the women a list of names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, including Navy blood donor records, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported.

His sentencing is Jan. 24.

The women, Alesia Spivey and Carlista Hawls, have pleaded guilty to federal charges and await sentencing in December.

Staff writer Patty Ryan can be reached at pryan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3382.

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