Three Individuals Indicted For Theft Of Government Property
Defendants Are Facing A Forfeiture Allegation Of $1,401,952.28
SAN JUAN, P.R. – Yesterday, June 26, a Federal grand jury returned an 86-count indictment charging three individuals for theft of government property, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The case involves schemes to defraud the United States by fraudulently obtaining and converting to cash United States Treasury Checks issued by the Internal Revenue Service, in connection fraudulent tax returns filed with the agency.
The defendants charged in the indictment cashed or attempted to cash or deposit a Treasury Check issued by the IRS in connection with a false and fraudulent tax return. The check amounts range from $5,460 to $9,851. Defendant Alfredo Rojas-Reynoso is facing 43 charges of theft of government property and 43 charges of aggravated identity theft. Alexander Aguasvivas-Troncoso is facing 17 charges of theft of government property and 17 charges of aggravated identity theft. Miguel A. Berríos-Velàzquez is facing 10 charges of theft of government property and 10 charges of aggravated identity theft.
The tax returns were filed using the personal identifying information of individuals, when in reality, said individuals never filed such tax returns with the IRS. The investigation has revealed that said false and fraudulent tax returns were filed without the consent of the taxpayers who appear in the returns. The majority of the defendants would attempt to negotiate the Treasury checks by depositing them in their accounts at financial institutions, that is, banks and credit unions.
“The Department of Justice is strongly committed to promoting compliance with federal tax laws, and we will continue to aggressively prosecute these offenses” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.
“Stealing identities, filing false tax returns, and negotiating U.S. Treasury checks resulting from this criminal activity are violations of the law that IRS Criminal Investigation takes very seriously. This indictment shows that IRS Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to identify, investigate, and bring to justice those who attempt to benefit from the use of stolen identities,” said José A. Gonzàlez, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible sentence of ten years on the theft of government property, and two consecutive years for each count of aggravated identity theft.
The case is being investigated by IRS – Criminal Investigation Division. Indictments are only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty. The investigation is ongoing.