Former Troy jailer guilty for I.D. fraud

Published 4:00 am Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A former Troy city jailer was sentenced to prison today in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama for his involvement in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme.

Devon Tucker, 31, a former jailer of the Troy Police Department at the city jail, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of aggravated identity theft.  U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade sentenced Tucker to serve 32 months in prison and three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $13,162 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to court documents, from January 2014 to January 2015, Tucker stole the personal identification information of approximately 150 individuals who were processed into the Troy City Jail.  Tucker provided those identities to his co-conspirators for the purpose of filing false federal income tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds from the U.S. Treasury.  Tucker was paid in pre-paid debit cards in the names of the identity theft victims for his involvement in the scheme.

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Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said the city had cooperated with federal authorities in the investigation. “The City of Troy appreciates the law enforcement efforts of the United States government related to former jailer Devon Tucker’s criminal actions,”Reeves said. “The city certainly could not have foreseen that an employee like Mr. Tucker would engage in the criminal conduct for which he was convicted and sentenced, and prior to this time the city has been fully cooperating with law enforcement’s investigation.”

Reeves went on to say that city officials would notify former jail inmates about the potential stolen identity issues and will provide access to credit monitoring services for any of those individuals who desire such a service.

Federal officials said the abuse of power by a government employee weighed heavily in the case.

“The Tax Division will vigorously pursue and prosecute government employees who abuse their positions by exploiting their access to personal information to victimize members of the community and steal from the U.S. Treasury,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.

“It is always a sad day when a law enforcement officer sworn to uphold the law, takes advantage of his position for his own personal gain,” said U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama.  “This district will continue to vigorously prosecute those who steal identities and file fraudulent tax returns, regardless of where they are employed or what position they hold.”

Ciraolo and Beck commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Gregory P. Bailey and Michael P. Hatzimichalis of the Tax Division and Assistant U. S. Attorney Jonathan Ross of the Middle District of Alabama, who prosecuted this case.