In the meantime, though, the arrest of two men in Polk County on fraud charges is a reminder that Americans still have reason to worry about something else: whether their tax preparer is honest and has integrity to bring to the table – or could be looking for ways to take advantage of suspecting people, including through indentity theft.
When Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Andrew Demart Jewel this week on fraud charges, they were quick to point out his background.
“It is worth noting that Jewell has been a licensed tax preparer for the past two years, and detectives located in his car several W-2 forms and credit cards that did not belong to him, and photocopies of others’ Florida driver’s licenses and Social Security cards,” noted Carrie S. Eleazer, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, in her release on the arrests.
Detectives, she added, plan to continue to investigate the implications surrounding Jewel’s arrest, and hope to identify any other victims of identity theft related to this case.
The investigation started months ago, when sheriff’s detectives began working with the Lake Wales Police Department and detectives from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office following complaints about residential burglaries in the Lake Wales area.
It began in October 2011, when a home on Sunset Drive in Lake Wales was robbed. The owners reported to law enforcement that a firearm, money, a safe, and checks had been stolen.
Two of the stolen checks got deposited into an IBM Southeast Employees’ Federal Credit Union ATM in Fort Lauderdale later that month. But the suspects made one critical error, Eleazor noted, by failing to keep in mind that ATMs have video surveillance cameras recording the image of everyone who uses the cash dispensing machine.
“The ATM video surveillance camera captured images of the suspect depositing the checks, and the suspect vehicle, a blue Chevy Malibu,” Eleazer noted. “Bulletins with these photos and information were disseminated throughout Polk and Broward counties.”
It proved to be a turning point in the investigation.
On April 11, detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake Wales Police Department traveled to Broward County to meet with their law enforcement counterparts there, and to follow up on some possible leads. It led to two men being taken into custody.
Detectives started by interviewing 23-year-old Andres Carl Hureskin of 3711 NW 21st St., Apt. 112 in Fort Lauderdale. According to the arrest report, Hureskin admitted to detectives that his accomplice, Jewell, 23, of 9249 Chambers St. in Tamarac, had deposited two checks into an account that Hureskin had opened at the credit union.
“Hureskin told detectives that he opened the account a month before Jewell stole the checks, with the understanding that Jewell would be depositing fraudulent checks into the account and would give a percentage of the money to Hursekin,” Eleazer said.
Arrest warrants were obtained for both men the following day, and on April 16, Broward County Sheriff’s detectives placed the two suspects under arrest and booked them into the Broward County Jail.
Hureskin was charged with one count of grand theft and one count of scheming to defraud.
Jewell was charged with one count of grand theft, two counts of uttering a forged instrument, and one count of criminal use of personal identification.
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