Former Travel Agent Convicted In Scheme To Cash Tax Refunds Obtained With Stolen Identities
Orlando, FL - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that a federal jury has found Ana Orosa Parada (49, Orlando) guilty of conspiracy to obtain payment of false claims. Parada faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Charlene E. Honeywell on August 13, 2013. Parada was indicted on September 19, 2012.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Marisol Panel and her husband, Wilfredo Flores, both held travel accounts at “Holiday Travel and Tours.” Panel testified that she had illegally obtained identities of adults and children who lived in Puerto Rico and said that she prepared tax returns using a tax filing program and paid local residents to receive refund checks at their residences. After the refund checks arrived, Panel and her co-defendant husband, Flores, would pick up the refund checks and deliver them to Parada. Parada would either cash the refund checks belonging to the identity theft victims or apply the checks to Panel and Flores' travel packages. Parada testified that she knew cashing and exchanging the refund checks for Panel and Flores’ travel packages was wrong.
Bank records showed Prada deposited 123 refund checks into her business checking account. The records also showed business checks which Parada had made payable to Marisol Panel for the amount of the refund checks, minus the fee Parada had charged for cashing the checks. Parada’s fee ranged from $700 to $1,000 per check. Other evidence showed that refund checks also had been applied to the cost of the travel packages purchased through Parada’s now defunct travel agency (Holiday Travel and Tours).
Both Panel and Flores have pleaded guilty for their role in the conspiracy. They are scheduled to be sentenced on July 9, 2013.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tanya Davis Wilson.