FLORIDA – A Florida man who reportedly posed as a representative from fake businesses has been sentenced for operating a nearly $800,000 tax deed surplus scheme, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office has announced.
According to the statement, Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution on Thursday secured a seven-year prison sentence for Stephen White. White posed as a representative of multiple fake businesses to submit false documents at county clerks’ offices, the Attorney General’s Office said.
“White claimed legal entitlement to tax deed surplus funds being held by the clerks on houses sold at auction—stealing nearly $800,000 in the operation,” Moody’s office said in its statement.
White was convicted of grand theft and identity theft affecting 10 or more victims, a first-degree and second-degree felony, respectively.
In addition to prison time, White has been ordered to pay $780,000 in restitution.
According to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation, White submitted fake documents to county clerk offices to obtain tax surplus money on behalf of a fraudulent business. The documents, which reportedly included some altered notarized forms, claimed the fake business possessed liens on houses sold at auction.
White performed this scheme 29 times at clerk offices throughout central and South Florida, obtaining nearly $800,000, according to the investigation.
From August 2016 to August 2020, White reportedly operated the scheme at the county clerk offices in Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Lake, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and St. Lucie counties.
FDLE investigated the case, and Attorney General Moody’s Statewide Prosecutor Robert Finkbeiner handled the prosecution.