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BELARUSIAN NATIONAL CHARGED IN INTERNATIONAL ONLINE SCHEME TO STEAL U.S. TAX REFUNDS

June 24, 2010

Boston, Mass... - Charges were unsealed today in federal court against a Belarusian national, living on Nantucket, alleging that he participated in an international online scheme to steal income tax refunds from U.S. taxpayers.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, Susan Dukes, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation - Boston Field Office and Kevin J. McGlynn, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division, U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration announced today that MIKALAI MARDAKHAYEU, 31, of Nantucket, was charged in a 10-count indictment with conspiracy and wire fraud.

According to the indictment, from 2006-2007, MARDAKHAYEU’s co-conspirators lured victims by operating websites that falsely claimed to be authorized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to offer lower-income taxpayers free online tax return preparation and electronic tax return filing (“e-filing”). After taxpayers input and uploaded their tax information, it is alleged that co-conspirators in Belarus collected the data and altered the returns so refunds would be wired to MARDAKHAYEU-controlled U.S. bank accounts. It is alleged that they then caused the fraudulently altered returns to be e-filed with the IRS. According to the indictment, the conspiracy ultimately caused the U.S. Treasury and various state treasury departments to deposit approximately $200,000 in stolen refunds into MARDAKHAYEU-controlled bank accounts on or around Nantucket.

If convicted, MARDAKHAYEU faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution on each of the nine wire fraud counts. On the conspiracy count, he faces an additional five years incarceration.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Bookbinder in Ortiz’s Computer Crimes Unit and Trial Attorney Mona Sedky in the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.

The details contained in the Indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

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