News and Press Releases

Miami-Dade Man Charged in $13 Million Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme Involving Fraudulent Florida Lottery Claims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Ronald Verrochio, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), announce the indictment of Orlando Cairo, Jr., of Miami, on filing fraudulent income tax returns with the IRS and claiming refunds based on fraudulently claimed income and withholding paid by the State of Florida, Department of the Lottery (“Florida Lottery”). Defendant Cairo had his initial appearance today in federal court in West Palm Beach before U.S. Magistrate Judge James M. Hopkins at 10:00 a.m.

The indictment charges Cairo with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, eight counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, seven counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, three counts of alteration of a treasury check, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 471, and one count of destruction of records, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1519.

According to the previously filed complaint and the indictment, Cairo obtained the means of identification of individuals, including their names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. He used these identifications to electronically file IRS income tax returns which claimed fraudulent gambling winnings from and withholdings by the Florida Lottery. From January 2012 through July 12, 2012, Cairo filed and caused to be filed with the IRS approximately 624 fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds of over $13,000,000.

In addition, the indictment alleges that Cairo altered three United States Treasury tax refund checks in the amounts of $412.90, $25.70, and $406.99, to increase the amounts of the checks to $88,412.90, $88,525.70, and $88,406.99, respectively.

If convicted, Cairo faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, altering a treasury check, and destruction of records, and two years consecutive in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft.

Mr. Ferrer thanked IRS-CI and USPIS for their work on this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha R. Mitrani and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Jed Silversmith.

An indictment is only an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent 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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