News and Press Releases

U.S. Marine Arrested in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme Targeting U.S. Marines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), Miami Field Office, announced that Jobson Cenor, 22, of Miami, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit tax refund fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. Cenor will make his initial appearance today in federal court in Wilmington, North Carolina for removal to the Southern District of Florida to face the charges.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “According to the criminal complaint, defendant Cenor, a U.S. Marine stationed in Afghanistan, sold the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of fellow Marines serving our country in Afghanistan to a co-conspirator, who used the stolen identities to file tax returns seeking fraudulent refunds. Identity theft is a crime that victimizes millions of Americans every day. Tax refund scams are the latest crime du jour resulting from identity theft. Still, when identity theft tax refund scams pits one Marine against another, it brings home the point that these refunds scams have become a national epidemic that must be eradicated. For this reason, the investigation and prosecution of identity theft has become one of my top priorities.”

“The charges against Jobson Cenor show our resolve to proactively fight identity theft and tax fraud,” said Dena Choucair, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Division.

IRS Special Agent in Charge José A. Gonzalez stated, “The harm done by this defendant goes far beyond the identities stolen to commit tax-related identity theft crimes. The devastating impact that his actions have on the honest men and women serving our country may never be fully measured. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively pursue and investigate those who commit tax-related identity theft crimes.”

The affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges that alleges that on January 17 and January 19, 2012, Cenor’s co-conspirator submitted fourteen fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds to an online tax preparation company. Several of these returns were in the name of U.S. marines. On February 9, 2012, Cenor’s co-conspirator had lists with names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. Several U.S. Marines whose names and social security numbers appear on these lists also appeared on the tax returns submitted on January 17 and 19, 2012.

On February 9, 2012, Cenor’s co-conspirator, at the direction of the FBI, made a recorded telephone call to Cenor. During that conversation, Cenor requested the two speak in Creole. Cenor’s co-conspirator explained that he/she had started filing tax returns using the identities that Cenor had provided. Cenor’s co-conspirator explained that Cenor would get half of the tax refund money, or approximately $54,000. Cenor said his co-conspirator could hold the money until Cenor returned from Afghanistan.

On February 17, 2012, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) obtained a search warrant to search Cenor’s quarters at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan. NCIS agents seized a list from Cenor’s quarters that contained the names and social security numbers of 44 U.S. Marines. Of those 44 names and social security numbers of U.S. Marines, 21 of those names and social security numbers appeared on lists in Cenor’s co-conspirator’s residence on February 9, 2012.

Mr. Ferrer thanked the FBI, IRS-CID, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for their work on the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.

A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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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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