20 Year Sentence For Jail Inmate Who Ran Tax Scam
By Mike Perleberg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – A Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center jail inmate who ran a tax scam from behind bars has been sentenced.
Robert Bonavita, 47, was accused in 2012 of defrauding a woman out of $7,000.
As he was held in jail at the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center on fraud charges, Bonavita continued to scheme for money. He persuaded fellow inmates to provide their personal information in order to file fraudulent tax returns on their behalf. The returns were done under the name of a company that did not exist. The inmates would then receive the tax return checks, from which Bonavita would receive a portion of the refund as payment for preparing the taxes.
On February 27, Bonavita was sentenced to 20 years after pleading to Forgery (Class C felony) with a habitual offender enhancement. All remaining charges were dismissed under the plea agreement Bonavita signed.
Dearborn Circuit Court Judge James Humphrey ordered Bonavita – who is already serving a sentence out of Ohio County Circuit Court – to serve 12 of those years in prison, and eight more on probation.
The forgery charge carried only an eight year sentence, but the enhancement for being a habitual offender netter an extra 12 years.
In addition to court costs and fees, Bonavita must also pay $7,000 in restitution to the original fraud victim. He has been ordered to have no contact with that victim.