Englewood, new jersey man sentenced to five years in prison for tax fraud scheme using stolen records
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – An Englewood, N.J., man was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for his role in a scheme to file false tax returns using the names and Social Security Numbers of, among other victims, adult and pediatric cancer patients, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Jason Eaton, 29, previously pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with conspiracy to file false claims against the United States and to commit credit card fraud. The defendant entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh, who also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
The United States makes available Earned Income Credits (“EICs”) and Additional Child Tax Credits (“Child Tax Credits”) to lower-income taxpayers with minor children or other qualifying dependents. EICs and Child Tax Credits reduce eligible taxpayers’ tax liabilities and, in certain cases, entitle eligible taxpayers to tax refunds.
Eaton admitted that he agreed with Steven Nelson and others to profit by using fraudulently obtained names, dates of birth, and Social Security Numbers to file false federal income tax returns that claimed tax refunds to which the conspirators were not entitled. Eaton also admitted that he and Nelson prepared false federal income tax returns in the names of the adults whose information he had stolen. The men also used the personal identifiers of the minors on those false returns in support of fraudulently claimed eligibility for EICs or Child Tax Credits, all without the permission of the minors’ parents or legal guardians.
The names and Social Security Numbers of adults came from records at doctor’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes, health clinics, government offices, and other places in New York where Nelson and others either worked or had access to such records. Several of the minors’ identifiers stolen in the scheme corresponded to records of pediatric cancer and other hospital and health clinic patients in New York.
Once the returns had been filed, Nelson directed the resulting refunds be sent to addresses in the Bronx that he controlled, including his house, his neighbors’ houses, and his child’s mother’s house. Eaton and others used counterfeit driver’s licenses and other identification documents in the names of the adults whose information they stole in order to cash United States Treasury checks.
The scheme caused approximately 163 False Returns to be filed with the IRS for the tax years 2005 through 2008, improperly claiming approximately $507,000 from the United States government. The IRS paid at least $200,000 in tax refunds based on the claims in the false returns.
Englewood police officers arrested both men on February 11, 2009, in possession of tax documents, victim information, counterfeit credit cards and driver’s licenses, and a tax refund check in the name of a victim.
Nelson pleaded guilty to the conspiracy on November 17, 2010, before Judge Cavanaugh and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on February 28, 2011.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Cavanaugh sentenced Eaton to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $299,809.60 in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff; and special agents of the United States Secret Service, under the direction of Jacob Christine, Special Agent in Charge, Newark Field Office, and Brian G. Parr, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Office, with the investigation leading to the guilty pleas. U.S. Attorney Fishman also thanked the Englewood Police Department for its assistance in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Kosto of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Nancy Lucianna, Esq., Fort Lee, N.J.