Two Sentenced for Identity Theft and Tax Conspiracy
Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Yeedser D. Palacios, age 33 and Wandy A. Fabre, age 29, both of Miami, Florida, were sentenced today in federal court in Anderson, for to conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft. United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain of Anderson sentenced Palacios to 75 months imprisonment and Fabre to 54 months imprisonment. Both were ordered to pay over $91,000 in restitution.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Fabre, Palacios, and Charles law, who has also pled guilty but has not been sentenced, traveled to South Carolina for the purpose of filing fraudulent income tax returns and receiving bogus refunds. The three men rented a local hotel room and waited while accomplices in Florida sent them the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers that had been stolen. The trio used this information to file tax returns and directed that the refunds, through H&R Block Bank, be sent to various addresses in Mauldin, South Carolina. Law, Fabre, and Palacios routinely checked mail boxes for the H&R Block debit cards containing the refund amount.
Law enforcement discovered the conspiracy when a citizen reported seeing a Ford Expedition stopping by various mail boxes in his neighborhood. The Mauldin Police Department and U.S. Postal Inspectors conducted surveillance and arrested the three conspirators after watching them pull items from a local box. Further investigation revealed that the trio filed over 60 fraudulent returns. The average amount of refund claimed was between $5000 and $7000. Law enforcement estimates that the conspiracy stole over $350,000 before arrests were made on March 15, 2013.
The case was investigated by agents of the Mauldin Police Department and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.