News and Press Releases

Johnstown Man Pleads Guilty in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme

March 5, 2014

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Johnstown, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of wire fraud and identity theft, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

John M. Chapman, 33, pleaded guilty to 26 counts before David S. Cercone, United States District Judge.

According to the information presented to the court, between 2007 through 2011, Chapman stole identities of other persons, including their names and social security numbers, which he then used to file fraudulent electronic federal income form 1040 tax returns in their name, in which he sought tax refunds, and then instructed that the refunds be directed to bank accounts which he controlled. Losses from the scheme totaled approximately $113,000.

Judge Cercone scheduled the sentencing for July 11, 2014, at 1 p.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 515 years in prison, a fine of $6,500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of John M. Chapman.

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