Members of Identity Theft and Tax Conspiracy Plead Guilty
Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina -----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Charles C. Law, age 28, and Wandy A. Fabre, age 29, both of Miami, Florida, pled guilty today in federal court in Anderson, to conspiracy to defraud the United States , a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286. United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain of Anderson accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that in February 2013, Law, Fabre, and Yeedser Palacios, who has also pled guilty to the conspiracy, 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.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty the defendants can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 10 years, plus a special assessment of $100.
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.