Margate man charged in ID theft and tax fraud case

Margate man charged in ID theft and tax fraud case

A Margate man was arraigned Tuesday and accused of identity theft and filing false tax returns through his Oakland Park tax preparation business, according to U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer.

Louis A. Francois, 44, was charged in federal court in West Palm Beach with three counts each of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, prosecutors said.

Francois owned and operated A&I Multi Services. He used the names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses of various people to file fraudulent income tax returns claiming tax refunds in their names, according to the indictment.

Francois printed out the refund checks payable to the people whose identities were stolen. Tax preparation fees were deposited into Francois’ bank account, but Francois used fake Florida driver’s licenses with the stolen identities to cash the tax refund checks at a check-cashing store next door to his business, court records showed.

If convicted, Francois faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud charge, and a mandatory term of two years in prison for each aggravated identity theft charge, prosecutors said.

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