Second Californian Sentenced on False Tax Refund Conspiracy
Used Social Security Numbers of Deceased Persons, Stolen Employer Identification Information
WASHINGTON – Haroon Amin of Upland, Calif., was sentenced to 30 months in prison today for conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. U.S. District Judge Robert H. Whaley presided at the sentencing hearing. Judge Whaley also sentenced Amin to three years of supervised released following his prison term and ordered Amin to pay $258,594 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury. Amin was remanded into custody today.
In December 2008, Amin and Ather Ali of Diamond Bar, Calif., were indicted by a federal grand jury in Riverside, Calif., on charges of engaging in a scheme to file false returns with the IRS using the names and Social Security numbers of deceased individuals. Amin pleaded guilty on Jan. 25, 2010. Ali subsequently pleaded guilty on Feb. 12, 2010.
According to the indictment, in 2002 and 2003, Amin and Ali filed at least 250 fraudulent returns, falsely stating that these deceased individuals earned wages from which income tax was withheld. These false returns claimed more than $2 million in income tax refunds. Although the IRS rejected the bulk of these refund claims, a number of refund checks were issued and delivered to addresses controlled by Amin, Ali and their co-conspirators, including various mailboxes opened by Ali. Most of these refund checks then were delivered overseas to be deposited in bank accounts in Armenia and Pakistan.
Amin admitted at his guilty plea hearing that he was a knowing participant in this scheme. According to the indictment and statements made at the plea hearing, Amin and his co-conspirators prepared various false tax returns using deceased people’s Social Security numbers and other identification information obtained from the Internet. The returns filed as part of the scheme had fictitious Form W-2 wage and tax statements as attachments, falsely stating that the deceased people earned income from various employers. Amin and his co-conspirators created fake W-2 Forms using employer identification numbers that they had obtained from an acquaintance of Amin’s, who was a certified public accountant. At his own plea hearing, Ali admitted using fake forms of identification to open mailboxes in the names of deceased people, from which the conspirators collected a number of these fraudulently obtained tax refund checks.
Ali was previously sentenced on Dec. 17, 2010, and is serving a 37-month prison term.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at www.usdoj.gov/tax .