HARTFORD MAN SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON
FOR ROLE IN FEDERAL TAX REFUND CHECK THEFT RING
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSUE MERCADO, also known as “Ariel,” 29, of Hudson Street, Hartford, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to three months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a federal tax refund check theft ring.
According to court documents and statements made in court, beginning in June 2010, MERCADO participated in a scheme to steal tax refund checks issued by the United States Treasury. As part of the scheme, MERCADO acted as a courier between Manuel Quiles, a United States Postal Service letter carrier in Hartford, and individuals located in New York City. As part of the scheme, Quiles provided other scheme participants with a list of addresses located on his mail carrier route in Hartford. The scheme participants then fraudulently caused the U.S. Treasury to issue and mail tax refund checks to the addresses identified by Quiles. Instead of delivering the tax refund checks to the addresses that he had previously identified, Quiles took possession of the checks and delivered them to MERCADO. MERCADO would pay Quiles and then deliver the checks to other scheme participants in New York.
On May 26, 2011, MERCADO pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of stolen mail.
On June 1, 2011, Quiles pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of mail by an employee of the United States Postal Service. He awaits sentencing.
This matter stems from a coordinated effort among various United States Attorney’s Offices and the Tax Division of the Department of Justice to combat a scheme to use stolen Puerto Rican identities to file fraudulent federal tax refund claims. These offices include the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Middle District of Pennsylvania, Southern District of New York, District of Connecticut, and the District of Massachusetts, and investigative agencies working with each office. In Connecticut, the investigation is being conducted by the United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General; the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher M. Mattei.
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