WASHINGTON – Haroon Amin of Upland, Calif., pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
In December 2008, Amin and Ather Ali of Diamond Bar, Calif., were indicted by a federal grand jury in Riverside, Calif., on charges of engaging in a scheme to file false returns with the IRS using the names and Social Security numbers of deceased individuals. Ali is scheduled to begin trial on March 2, 2010. According to the indictment, in 2002 and 2003 Amin and Ali filed at least 250 fraudulent tax returns, falsely stating that the deceased individuals earned wages from which income tax was withheld. These false returns claimed more than $2 million in income tax refunds. Although the IRS rejected the bulk of these refund claims, a number of refund checks were issued and delivered to addresses controlled by Amin, Ali and their co-conspirators, including to various mailboxes opened by Ali using false forms of identification. Most of these refund checks were then delivered overseas to be deposited in bank accounts in Armenia and Pakistan.
Amin admitted that he was a knowing participant in this scheme. According to the indictment and statements made at the plea hearing, Amin and his co-conspirators obtained deceased individuals’ Social Security numbers and other identification information from the Internet. The returns filed as part of the scheme had fictitious Form W-2 wage and tax statements as attachments. Amin created fake W-2 Forms using employer identification numbers that he had obtained from an acquaintance who was a certified public accountant.
Judge Robert H. Whaley scheduled Amin’s sentencing for June 22, 2010. Amin faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division commended the efforts of agents from the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Laguna Niguel, Calif, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Pell and Tax Division trial attorney Joseph A. Rillotta, who are prosecuting the case.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax.