A San Francisco man was sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday, four months after a jury found him guilty of stealing the identities of men he’d met in prison and using them to commit tax fraud, prosecutors said.
From June 2010 to January 2012, 52-year-old Howard Webber, who was incarcerated at facilities including San Quentin State Prison, the Santa Clara County Jail and the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility in Wisconsin. promised fellow inmates he could help them take advantage of tax loopholes and government programs as a ruse to get their social security numbers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Working with a partner, Clifford Bercovich, Webber recruited inmates to get the personal information of more inmates and created a limited-liability company —Inmate Assets Recovery and Liquidation Services LLC — to give their scheme a veneer of legitimacy, according to prosecutors.
Webber and Bercovich used the personal information to file false income tax returns, then collect fraudulently obtained refund checks, ultimately filing over 700 false returns that netted more than $600,000, prosecutors said.
On January 24, a jury found Webber guilty of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Bercovich, who pleaded guilty to a variety of similar charges in December, will be sentenced June 12, according to court records.