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Bronx man sentenced to 34 months in prison for fraudulently cashing more than $1.2 million in tax refund checks in new jersey

November 29, 2011


TRENTON, N.J. – A Bronx, N.Y., man was sentenced today to 34 months in prison for conspiring to fraudulently cash more than $1.2 million in federal and state income tax refund checks, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Amaury Mercedes del Orbe, 42, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Judge Cooper also imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From August to September 2010, Mercedes del Orbe conspired with others to fraudulently present for payment tax refund checks issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and state tax agencies at check-cashing establishments in New Jersey.

Citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico typically do not file tax returns with the IRS as long as all of the Puerto Rico residents’ income is derived from sources in Puerto Rico.
Members of the conspiracy filed false and fraudulent individual income tax returns with the IRS and New Jersey using the identity information of other individuals, including citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, that sought state and federal tax refunds.

Members of the conspiracy had the tax refund checks sent to different addresses that were in New Jersey that were controlled by members of the conspiracy.

Mercedes del Orbe admitted that he conspired to fraudulently cash approximately $1,249,262 in federal tax refund checks and approximately $113,193 in state tax refund checks at check-cashing establishments in the New Jersey area.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cooper sentenced Mercedes del Orbe to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $1,362,458.32 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 inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett, for the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mala Ahuja Harker and Barbara Llanes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.


Defense counsel: Johanna Zapp Esq., New York

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