|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON|
|FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2009||PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER|
|HTTP://WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe||DIRECT: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881|
FOUR HEAD TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR FRAUD SCHEME
PLANO, TX – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that 4 men have been sentenced to federal prison for their role in an elaborate fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas. The sentencing hearings were held before U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.
GILBERT GOTORO, 39, of Irving, pleaded guilty on Jan. 20, 2009, to conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims and conspiracy to commit identity theft and bank fraud and was sentenced on Aug. 13, 2009, to 78 months and 60 months respectively in federal prison. The sentences will be served concurrently. Gotoro was also ordered to pay $1,167,546 in restitution.
CHRISTOPHER CHIOTA, 32, a native of Zimbabwe living in Dallas, pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2009, to conspiracy to commit identity theft and bank fraud and was sentenced on Aug. 10, 2009, to 57 months in federal prison.
TENDEKA DANIEL PARIRENYATWA, 32, a native of Zimbabwe living in Richardson, pleaded guilty on Jan. 7, 2009, to conspiracy to commit identity theft and bank fraud and was sentenced on Aug. 10, 2009, to 46 months in federal prison.
Another defendant, MICHAEL THOMAS, JR., 27, of Irving, was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison on May 27, 2009, for conspiracy to commit identity theft and bank fraud. All defendants were ordered to pay restitution.
According to information presented in court, Gotora, Chiota, Parirenyatwa, and Thomas conspired to defraud federally insured banks and the United States by making false claims for income tax refunds and applications to banks for refund anticipation loans which were based upon the false claims for income tax refunds. One or more of the conspirators acted as an electronic return originator who would electronically file federal income tax returns, often in the names of persons whose personal identifying information had been stolen. The conspirators would contemporaneously file applications for refund anticipation loans with banks with which they had a preexisting business relationship. Upon preliminary approval of the claim based on the false income tax return the refund anticipation loan checks would be cashed by a participating co-conspirator and the proceeds split among them. Gotoro, Chiota, Parirenyatwa, and Thomas were indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 14, 2008.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Blake.
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