News and Press Releases


Naples Resident Sentenced for Treasury Check Cashing and Stolen Identity Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2014

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Donnell Young, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Ronald J. Verrochio, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Division, announce that Victor Martinez Pantoja, 23, of Naples, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez in Key West to 34 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

Pantoja previously pled guilty to one count of theft of government money, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 64l, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(1) and 2.

According to court documents, on November 21, 2013, Pantoja met with two individuals and negotiated a deal to cash fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury income tax refund checks. During the meeting, Pantoja gave the individuals three Treasury checks totaling $27,263 to be cashed, provided a copy of a counterfeited Florida driver’s license and social security card for each corresponding Treasury check, and forged the names of the individuals to endorse the back of each check. Pantoja obtained these U.S. Treasury checks by filing fraudulent tax returns using the identities of individuals who died in the previous tax year. He obtained the deceased individuals’ identities from the internet.

Court documents also state that the individuals agreed to cash the Treasury checks within three business days and to return $20,500 to Pantoja. On November 26, 2013, the individuals gave Pantoja $20,500 as payment for the previous three Treasury checks. During this meeting, Pantoja provided the individuals with six Treasury checks totaling $35,547, which were to be cashed by the individuals.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of FBI, IRS-CI, and the USPIS. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gera R. Peoples.

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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.

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