Carlos Oscar Johnson of Palm Harbor was arrested last week by federal Internal Revenue Service agents and accused in a federal complaint of filing more than 200 fraudulent tax returns. He is accused of stealing at least $1.7 million from federal taxpayers after fraudulently obtaining refunds using stolen personal information and faces one count of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Johnson reportedly used the funds to make many purchases including plane tickets and a vacation at the Bellagio luxury resort in Las Vegas. He also drove a 2009 Cadillac CTS with the vanity plate “CLSY LOS” (classy Carlos).
Federal prosecutors claim that Johnson filed at least 42 of the fraudulent tax returns from a Tampa hotel on at least two different occasions, using the hotel’s Internet to e-file the returns. He filed another 173 returns from an Internet address connected to Johnson’s home in Palm Harbor, according to authorities.
Johnson worked as a certified nursing assistant at the Sabal Palms Care Center in Largo, according to the affidavit filed with the complaint. His wages for the first quarter of 2011 totaled just $456. In 2010, his income was $14,000.
Authorities report that, last year, Johnson was stopped by Clearwater police for a parking violation. When officers searched Johnson’s wallet, they found five prepaid debit cards. The cards were later determined to contain tax refunds filed in other people’s names. He told police that he found the wallet at a Publix supermarket.
Police contacted IRS-Criminal Investigations, which began investigating Johnson.
When Johnson was finally arrested on Friday, investigators also towed away the Cadillac and seized three large flat-screen televisions.