FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Call him the man of 101 Social Security numbers.
Dogged by gambling debts, William Desadora of Fort Lauderdale schemed to rake in $360,000 of other people's money.
First, he got hold of the Social Security numbers for 101 people. Then, he filled out tax returns for all 101, purchased a few post office boxes, and waited for Uncle Sam to send him refunds.
Checks started rolling in, and he cashed at least one for $19,000. But Desadora's scheme turned sour when a broker, suspicious of his large investment, called police. Now he's headed to prison.
Yesterday, Desadora admitted his sins to U.S. District Judge William Zloch in Fort Lauderdale federal court.
He pleaded guilty to two felonies involving his filing of false tax returns and cashing of one check. In return, prosecutors agreed to drop two other charges and recommend a reduced sentence based on his "acceptance of personal responsibility."
"He indicated that he had a bad gambling problem," said his lawyer, Patrick Curry of Fort Lauderdale. "He indicated that he wanted to plead guilty from the very beginning."
How did he get the Social Security numbers?
It's easier than you think.
"He said he got them from a friend who worked at a video store," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Eileen O'Connor. "These were applications for your video card. You put down your Social Security number and all kind of things."
Sentencing is scheduled for December.