Resident of Montana and Nevada Charged in Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
A federal grand jury in the District of Montana returned an indictment on May 18, which was unsealed yesterday, charging a resident of Montana and Nevada with one count of corrupt interference with the internal revenue laws, 10 counts of theft of government money and six counts of aggravated identity theft, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter of the District of Montana.
According to the indictment, from approximately April 2010 through at least September 2014, Steven D. Pjevach, filed false and fraudulent income tax returns using names and social security numbers that he obtained by posting false help-wanted advertisements on Craigslist. As part of his scheme, Pjevach opened and caused to be opened bank accounts in other individuals’ names to receive the fraudulently obtained tax refunds. Pjevach provided false information to these individuals about the reason why he was using their bank accounts and advised one of these individuals to disregard bank correspondence that advised this individual that his bank account was being used to obtain tax refunds.
If convicted, Pjevach faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison on the charge of corrupt interference with the internal revenue laws, 10 years in prison for each count of theft of government money and a mandatory sentence of two years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft, which will be in addition to any other term of imprisonment he receives. He also faces supervised release, a fine and restitution.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Cotter commended special agents of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case and Trial Attorney John T. Mulcahy of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad C. Spraker of the District of Montana, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.