Citizen of the Dominican Republic Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
Cashed More Than $7 Million in Fraudulently Obtained IRS Refund Checks
A Dominican citizen who resided in Lawrence, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 11 years in prison today after pleading guilty mid-trial to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), access device fraud, theft of government property, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb for the District of Massachusetts.
According to evidence presented at trial, from 2008 through 2015, Furvio Flete-Garcia, 45, obtained the personal identification information of Puerto Rico residents and, without their knowledge or consent, paid others to prepare and file tax returns with the IRS in their names. These returns listed fake income and tax withholdings and sought fraudulent refunds. Flete-Garcia would pick up the tax refund checks from addresses he controlled and cashed them with co-conspirators for a percentage of their face value. In total, he negotiated over $7 million in fraudulent refund checks at two different check cashing businesses in Lawrence. An additional $5 million of refunds were claimed on fraudulent income tax returns presented to the IRS from 2011 to 2015 using the identities of Puerto Rican residents whose identities were on lists obtained from Flete-Garcia and presented at trial.
In addition to the term of prison imposed, United States District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin ordered Flete-Garcia to pay $7,737,486 in restitution to the IRS. Flete-Garcia was previously sentenced in April 2016 to 28 months in prison for illegal re-entry into the United States, misuse of a social security number and aggravated identity theft.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Weinreb commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Senior Litigation Counsel Corey Smith and Trial Attorney Sean Green of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Weinreb also thanked the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Secret Service, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts for assisting in the investigation and prosecution.
Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.