ANCHORAGE, Alaska (7/24/12)--Eleven people have been indicted in connection with a scheme to use stolen Puerto Rican identities to file tax returns and obtain $19 million in fraudulent income tax refunds in Anchorage, Alaska, said the Justice Department's Tax Division there.
They also have been charged with tax fraud, identity theft and other financial counts, as well as cocaine distribution and international money laundering (Loansafe.org and the Federal Bureau of Investigation July 20). The charges include making false statements to banks and credit unions, submitting false claims for refund, possessing stolen mail, making false claims of U.S. citizenship, committing passport fraud, passing forged U.S. Treasury checks and aggravated identity theft.
The indictments alleged that between January 2012 and March 2012, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by filing false tax returns and claiming millions of dollars in refunds to which they were not entitled.
The suspects, whose names were not released, allegedly obtained the names and Social Security numbers of individuals from Puerto Rico and fabricated individual income tax returns in those names. Three defendants allegedly obtained laptops loaded with the information of 2,600 stolen identities and identified $19 million in fraudulent refund claims. The group allegedly contacted other conspirators in New Jersey and Puerto Rico, requesting that fraudulent refund checks be sent to Anchorage under false names.
The indictment alleges that the defendants negotiated the refund checks at financial institutions in Anchorage. One bank employee has been charged with assisting in the conspiracy by opening bank accounts in false names and negotiating forged U.S. Treasury checks.