Miami-Dade County Resident Pleads Guilty in Stolen Identity Income Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Ronald J. Verrochio, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), announce that Crystal Booker, 31, Miami-Dade County pled guilty today to one count of filing a false claim with the IRS, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287. Sentencing is scheduled for September 5, 2014. At sentencing, Booker faces a maximum term of five years in prison.
According to court documents, defendant Orlando Cairo, 32, Miami-Dade County, was involved in a stolen identity income tax refund fraud scheme where he obtained the names, social security numbers, and other personal identifying information of individuals and unlawfully used this information to file and cause to be filed fraudulent income tax returns with the IRS. The returns reported false withholdings and requested refunds based on fraudulent IRS Forms W2-G, purportedly issued by the Florida Lottery Commission when an individual has gambling income exceeding a certain threshold amount.
According to court records, Booker assisted Cairo in this scheme by opening approximately eighteen bank accounts at financial institutions located in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The fraudulent refunds that the IRS paid out were deposited into these bank accounts. Cairo filed and caused to be filed 378 returns identifying one of Booker’s accounts as the account where the refund should be deposited. The returns requested $2,128,841 in fraudulent refunds. In furtherance of the scheme, Cairo, with Booker’s assistance, presented to the IRS a fraudulent tax return, which claimed an income tax refund of $7,064. The refund was paid into one of the bank accounts that Booker opened.
On May 14, 2014, Cairo was sentenced to 120 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $277,133.58 in restitution. He pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and USPIS. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha R. Mitrani.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.