Massachusetts Man Pleaded Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud the IRS Using Stolen IDs of Puerto Rico Residents to Claim Tax Refunds
Cashed Millions in Fraudulently Obtained IRS Refund Checks
A Lawrence, Massachusetts man pleaded guilty today during his trial in the District of Massachusetts to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), access device fraud, theft of government property, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb for the District of Massachusetts.
According to the 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 millions in fraudulent refund checks at two different check cashing businesses in Lawrence.
Flete-Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 25 by U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin. Flete-Garcia faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy, 10 years in prison for each count of theft of government property and access device fraud, 20 years in prison for each count of money laundering and a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. Flete-Garcia’s co-defendant, Juan Santiago, pleaded guilty in April 2016 to conspiracy to defraud the IRS, access device fraud, conversion of government property and aggravated identity theft. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 8.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Weinreb thanked 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. Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg 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.