Honolulu man sentenced for fraudulent tax return scheme

Richard Lee Derrick Jr., 52, of Honolulu was sentenced on Jan. 10 to 24 months in federal prison for aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, Derrick engaged in a scheme by which he filed numerous fraudulent federal and state income tax returns using the personal information of others. Derrick pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft on Sept. 19, 2016.

During that court proceeding, he admitted to filing one such fraudulent federal tax return using his deceased wife's social security number on Feb. 20, 2014. As part of a plea agreement, Derrick pleaded guilty to only one offense, but agreed that he was responsible for fraudulently obtaining $241,897.60 in refunds from the State of Hawaii.

During Tuesday's sentencing proceedings, United States District Judge Derrick K. Watson noted that Derrick's use of the personal identifiers of deceased people was particularly "sinister" because his victims could not detect his conduct or protect themselves from it. Judge Watson further noted that identity theft not only causes financial harm, but also gives rise to numerous other problems, as victims must often spend significant time and effort attempting to repair the damage caused by the release and use of their personal information.

In addition to the 24 month term of imprisonment, Judge Watson ordered the payment of $241,897.60 in restitution to the State of Hawaii Department of Taxation.

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