FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – Three men from the Bronx, N.Y., have admitted their roles in defrauding the U.S. Department of the Treasury of more than $300,000 in income tax return checks, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.
Pedro Rafael Castillo Roman, 27, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Julio Alexander Lara Trinidad, 25, and Luis Figaro, 22, both pleaded guilty before Judge Wigenton on Tuesday to Informations charging them with the same offense.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico typically do not file tax returns with the IRS as long as all of their income is derived from sources in Puerto Rico. Other members of the conspiracy filed phony individual income tax returns with the IRS using the identity information of other individuals, including citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, that sought federal tax refunds. In May 2011, Lara Trinidad, Figaro and Castillo Roman conspired with others to retrieve income tax return checks that the other conspirators caused the U.S. Department of the Treasury to issue and mail to various addresses in Middlesex County, N.J.
Law enforcement recovered $310,647 as a result of the arrest of Lara Trinidad, Figaro and Castillo Roman.
The count to which the defendants pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for April 30, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn Zuniga; and inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett; and police officers from the Metuchen, N.J., Police department, under the direction of Chief Rob Rentenberg, for the investigation leading to the guilty pleas.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys José R. Almonte and Barbara Llanes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
Lara Trinidad: Jonathan Petty Esq., New Brunswick, N.J.
Figaro: Joseph M. Mazraani Esq., North Brunswick, N.J.
Castillo Roman: Marcia L. Silva Esq., South River, N.J.