News and Press Releases

FEDERAL INMATE AND FAMILY INDICTED ON TAX FRAUD CHARGES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2010

Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announced that Danilo Suarez, a prison inmate, and three members of his family Gilbert Suarez, his brother, Sandra Suarez, his daughter, and Belkis Mendez, his sister, were charged in a 15-count indictment unsealed today for their alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns on behalf of inmates in the Monroe County Jail, in Key West, FL, and others.

More specifically, the defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS by submitting false tax information and claims for refunds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. The defendants are also charged individually with various counts of making false statements to the IRS by causing the filing of false federal income tax returns and supporting documents, in violation of Title 18, Untied States Code, Section 287.

According to the indictment, defendant Danilo Suarez, 49, formerly of Key West, was a federal prisoner housed primarily at the Monroe County Jail. While incarcerated in the Monroe County Jail, Danilo Suarez began a scheme to defraud the IRS by recruiting and submitting false tax return forms in the name of fellow inmates, former inmates and relatives, for tax years 2004 through 2006. These returns falsely claimed that the purported taxpayers had been employed and paid withholding taxes during the years in question. In fact, however, Danilo Suarez knew that the purported taxpayers had not worked as reported, had not earned the reported income, and had not had income withheld as claimed.

To execute the scheme, Danilo Suarez recruited his daughter, sister and brother, co-defendants Sandra Suarez, 25, of Key West, Belkis Mendez, 54, of Key West, and Gilbert Suarez, 47, of Deland, FL, respectively, to receive the resulting IRS refund checks. Danilo Suarez also instructed the co-defendants to cash the checks, sometimes using fraudulent powers of attorneys. Once the checks were cashed, the co-defendants gave the cash to inmate Danilo Suarez, who divided the proceeds between himself, the co-defendants, and the complicit inmates.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible statutory sentence of 10 years in prison on the conspiracy count, and a maximum of up to 5 years in prison on each count of making a false claim to the IRS.

U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division and FBI. Mr. Sloman also thanked the Key West Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their assistance in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aurora Fagan.

An indictment is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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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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