Former Torrington Resident Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Role in Stolen Identity Tax Refund Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MARIO PASCUAL AQUINO, 36, formerly of Torrington, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his involvement in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, AQUINO was involved in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain U.S. Treasury tax refund checks made payable to individuals other than themselves, whose personal identifying information was stolen by co-conspirators. Typically, the individuals whose identities were stolen were citizens of Puerto Rico.
Between October 2011 and March 2013, AQUINO cashed approximately $650,000 worth of fraudulently-obtained tax refund checks at a check cashing store in Torrington. He also opened his own check cashing store in Hartford, Mega Money Transfers, and, in 2011 and 2012, proceeded to cash more than 300 fraudulently-obtained refund checks valued at a total of $750,926 through that store. Finally, Aquino sold six fraudulently-obtained refund checks valued at a total of $60,929 to an undercover agent. He also provided the undercover agent with a fraudulent Connecticut driver license in the name of an identity theft victim.
Judge Bryant ordered AQUINO to pay restitution in the amount of $532,500.
AQUINO, who most recently resided in Pasadena, Texas, has been detained since his arrest on May 31, 2016. On January 5, 2017, he pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public money.
This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Waterbury Police Department, Hartford Police Department and Pasadena (Tex.) Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarala V. Nagala.