Georgia Man Indicted For Tax Fraud And Identity Theft
Defendant Filed Over 5,000 False Claims for “Stimulus Money”
ATLANTA – Mauricio Warner has been indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing the identities of thousands of individuals to file federal tax returns claiming over $6 million in bogus refunds.
“This defendant and identity thieves like him steal millions in taxpayer dollars every year,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “We have seen a decided trend in identity thieves turning to phony IRS refunds instead of more traditional credit card fraud schemes, and have allocated increased resources to reverse this trend. Our office will continue to protect the citizens of this district, bring fraudsters to justice, and return the stolen money to the U.S. Treasury.”
“Identity thieves are becoming more devious, creative, and conniving,” stated Veronica Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “They steal our identities, steal government money, and prey upon innocent citizens. These criminals must be and will continue to be pursued in order to obtain justice for the victims as well as justice for our nation.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From approximately January 2011 to April 2012, Warner, 37, of Smyrna, Ga., allegedly filed over 5,000 false tax returns using the names and social security numbers of unsuspecting victims. Victims were told they could submit an application for a “stimulus payment” or “Free Government Money” by providing their names and social security numbers. It is alleged that in some instances, he used toll-free telephone numbers to collect victims’ personal identifying information. Warner then used the victims’ names and social security numbers to claim millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds. The victims did not know tax returns were being filed in their names.
Additionally, the United States has seized seven bank accounts controlled by Warner that contain $4,185,455.31 in funds believed to be derived from or involved in this scheme.
Warner was arraigned in front of United States Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker yesterday on the charges. The indictment charges 16 counts of wire fraud, 16 counts of aggravated identity theft, 16 counts of filing false claims, and 2 counts of money laundering. Each wire fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, each false claim count carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, and each money laundering count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The aggravated identity theft charges carry at least one mandatory two-year consecutive sentence to any other sentence imposed. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000. The United States is also seeking the forfeiture of all funds derived from or involved in this scheme.
In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. If you believe you may be a victim of tax return-related identity theft please contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 (Mon. - Fri., 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. local time).
Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen H. McClain and Thomas J. Krepp are prosecuting the case.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.