Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft in IRS Tax Refund Scheme
A Chicago-area man pleaded guilty yesterday to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft associated with his filing of false tax returns.
According to court documents, Wilmer Alexander Garcia Meza used the personal identifying information of others — including their names, dates of birth and identification documents such as foreign passports — to fraudulently obtain Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) in their names from the IRS. An ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the IRS to individuals who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security number. From 2013 through 2017, Garcia used the ITINs to file tax returns in the names of these stolen identities, claiming thousands of dollars in fraudulent refunds. Garcia then used identification documents in those same names to cash these refund checks issued by the IRS. In total, Garcia caused a tax loss of approximately $222,000.
Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 17 and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for mail fraud. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.
Trial Attorneys Thomas Flynn and Jacob Green of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case. Former Trial Attorney Michael Landman also provided valuable assistance on the case.