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Press Release

New York Man Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Role in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that, CESAR PENSON-PEREZ, 28, of New York, N.Y., was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for participating in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme that resulted in a loss of more than $7.5 million from the U.S. Treasury.

According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from an investigation into individuals who, through various means, obtained fraudulent U.S. Treasury tax refund checks using stolen identities.  After obtaining the checks, individuals sold them for less than face value of the checks, or deposited them into bank accounts that had been opened using fraudulent identifying documents.  The funds were then quickly withdrawn from the bank accounts.

The investigation revealed that Julio Lara Trinidad, a resident of Waterbury, and his co-conspirators opened at least 59 bank accounts in the names of identity theft victims, deposited U.S. Treasury tax refund checks into the accounts, and then quickly withdrew the funds, resulting in more than $663,000 in loss to the U.S. Treasury.  Between December 2012 and February 2013, one of the accounts was used to purchase six licenses for a brand of tax preparation software.  These licenses were used to file more than 36,000 federal income tax returns, seeking more than $234 million in federal tax refunds intended to be issued to Trinidad and his co-conspirators.  Nearly $6.8 million in fraudulent refunds were issued before the scheme was identified.

On May 15, 2015, PENSON-PEREZ pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public money and admitted that he worked with Trinidad to open bank accounts using fraudulent identities, deposit stolen checks into the accounts and withdraw the resulting funds.

PENSON-PEREZ was found to be responsible for a loss of $360,026.66, and he was ordered to pay restitution in that amount.

Trinidad pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public money and one count of aggravated identity theft and, on May 26, 2015, was sentenced to 144 months of imprisonment.

Four other individuals were convicted of charges stemming from this scheme.

This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service and Homeland Security Investigations, with the assistance of the Danbury and Darien Police Departments.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarala V. Nagala.

Updated February 4, 2016

Identity Theft