Eleven South Florida Residents Charged in $34 Million Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 @ 9:29PM

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U.S. Attorney’s Office February 08, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, announced the unsealing of a 43-count indictment charging defendants 11 South Florida residents with stolen identity tax refund fraud.

Specifically, each defendant is charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, commit wire fraud, and commit aggravated identity theft, all in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. § 371.

According to the indictment, the defendants recruited knowing participants and unknowing victims to put businesses, bank accounts, and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) in the defendants’ names. The defendants used this information to execute their fraud scheme, including tax refund fraud. The defendants also used the personal identification information of real people, including some deceased, to file false income tax returns with the IRS. In this way, the defendants received IRS refund checks [U.S. Treasury checks and Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) checks] at addresses and bank accounts that they controlled. To avoid having the fraud discovered, the defendants negotiated the fraudulently obtained income tax refund checks at each other’s businesses.

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