HARTFORD LETTER CARRIER SENTENCED TO FEDERAL
PRISON FOR ROLE IN TAX REFUND CHECK THEFT RING
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that MANUEL QUILES, 41, of Hartford, was sentenced yesterday by Senior United States District Judge Warren W. Eginton in Bridgeport to 12 months and one day 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 January 2010, QUILES, a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, participated in a scheme to steal tax refund checks issued by the United States Treasury. 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 other scheme participants. QUILES was paid $300 for each check he took and provided to others.
On March 7, 2011, QUILES possessed 11 envelopes containing federal tax refund checks that he stole from the U.S. mail.
On June 1, 2011, QUILES pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of mail by an employee of the U.S. Postal Service, and acknowledged that the U.S. Treasury suffered losses of between $70,000 and $120,000 as a result of his involvement in the scheme.
As part of the sentence, Judge Eginton ordered QUILES to pay restitution in the amount of $70,000.
In Connecticut, this investigation has also led to the conviction of Josue Mercado, also known as “Ariel,” who was a courier between QUILES and other scheme participants. On May 26, 2011, Mercado pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of stolen mail. On September 14, 2011, he was sentenced to three months of imprisonment.
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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