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A former orderly at the state’s mental hospital was sentenced Thursday to two years in federal prison for stealing the identities of patients to file fraudulent income tax returns in their names.
Sir John Ashley Holliday, 28, now of Dallas, pleaded guilty in May to charges of aggravated identity theft and theft of government funds. He admitted that by using the stolen names and Social Security numbers of four State Hospital patients, he received $13,191 in false income tax refunds.
The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year term in prison, to be served consecutively to any other related sentence.
Holliday’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Latrece Gray, gave U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker several letters written in support of Holliday, including one from his current employer, who wasn’t identified. She told the judge Holliday has changed since he committed the crimes in 2011 and wants a chance to prove he now knows the difference between right and wrong.
“I’m sorry for my mishap for everybody that I became a problem to,” Holliday said from a courtroom lectern.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Morgan didn’t object to Gray’s request for the minimum sentence, but said that despite the “relatively small” amount of money involved, the crime is a “serious offense.”
He said the identity theft was “particularly egregious, especially because the victims were patients of a psychiatric ward.”
Baker sentenced Holliday to one day in prison for theft of government funds and two years for the identity theft. She also ordered him to make full restitution to the IRS and to serve three years on supervised release after his prison term.
The crime was investigated by the FBI, the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Secret Service.