Crete Residents Indicted for Scheme Involving Fraudulent Tax Refunds
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg and Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, Tanya T. Brewer, announced that on September 19, 2012, Jose Feliciano Alvarado-Montoya, age 42, and Juana Ramirez, age 43, both residents of Crete, Nebraska, were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with a fraudulent tax refund scheme. According to the indictment, Alvarado-Montoya and Ramirez conspired to cash tax refund checks and obtain payment from the United States knowing the tax refund checks were fraudulently obtained. In addition, Alvarado-Montoya and Ramirez were also charged with two counts of theft of public funds.
The indictment alleges the conspiracy began on or about August 14, 2012 and continued until the defendants were arrested on September 6, 2012, by IRS special agents. Alvarado-Montoya and Ramirez are alleged to have obtained tax refund checks in the names of various individuals, all with North Carolina addresses. The defendants allegedly knew the refund checks were from fraudulent income tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the returns having been filed using the names of individuals who were not residing in the United States and were not entitled to receive tax refund checks.
According to the indictment, Alvarado-Montoya and Ramirez went to a store in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the purpose of cashing the tax refund checks. The defendants provided copies of passports and identification numbers matching the names on the checks and falsely stated they were cashing the checks for family members. In addition, the defendants offered to pay a 15% fee to cash the refund checks when the normal fee was no more than 3%.
On August 30, 2012, Alvarado-Montoya and Ramirez allegedly received payment for a United States Treasury Check in the amount of $4,978.00. In addition, on September 1, 2012, the defendants allegedly attempted to cash six additional Treasury Checks totaling $24,110.93.
“At the IRS, protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take extremely seriously. An integral part of the agency’s mission involves detecting and stopping fraudulent tax refund claims," said Tanya T. Brewer, IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge. "The object of these schemes is to defraud the taxpaying public and the government.”
If convicted, conspiracy to file false claims carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a possible fine or both; each count of theft of public funds carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a possible fine or both per count.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation.