Metairie Resident Sentenced to 43 Months in Prison for His Role in $10 Million Tax Fraud Conspiracy, Aggravated Identity Theft
OLSEN SARAVIA-HERNANDEZ, 48, a Honduran national who most recently resided in Metairie, Louisiana, was sentenced today for conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns and for aggravated identity theft, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr. and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
U.S. District Court Judge Helen G. Berrigan sentenced SARAVIA-HERNANDEZ to 43 months in prison and three years of supervised release, while ordering him to pay restitution to the United States of $1,000,000. In November 2014, JACQUELINE J. ARIAS, a tax return preparer from Spruce Pine, Alabama, was sentenced to serve 97 months in prison for her role in the scheme and ordered to pay more than $10,000,000 in restitution.
On December 19, 2013, SARAVIA-HERNANDEZ pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of aggravated identity theft. According to court documents, SARAVIA-HERNANDEZ and his coconspirators filed false returns listing Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). An ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security Number. The indictment charged that ARIAS filed false applications for ITINs, false income tax returns, and collected preparation fees from the fraudulently-obtained tax refunds. As alleged in the superseding indictment, SARAVIA-HERNANDEZ acted as a “runner” in the organization, obtaining identification documents in the Eastern District of Louisiana and ferrying them to ARIAS for use in filing false returns.
To date, seventeen defendants have pled guilty in the case, including one defendant who was arrested in Panama last year and is awaiting sentencing. Four defendants remain fugitives. All of the defendants in this case who pled guilty thus far were sentenced to terms of imprisonment, including: CESAR ALEJANDRO SORIANO (42 months); OSCAR ARMANDO PERDOMO, (42 months); YONI PERDOMO, (38 months); ARNULFO SANTOS-MEDRADO, (38 months); ELSIDES EDGARDO ALVARADO-CANALES, (36 months); ELIECER OBED RODRIGUEZ, (34 months); OCTAVIO JOSUE PERDOMO, (34 months); ELBER MENDOZA-LOPEZ, (34 months); AURELIO MONTIEL-MARTINEZ, (24 months); MILLER PERDOMO-ACEITUNO, ( 24 months); SANTOS MARTIN HERNANDEZ, (24 months); and SUSANA CARILLO MENDOZA, (19 months).
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Polite commended the agencies involved in investigating this matter, including: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees U.S. Homeland Security Investigations; IRS-Criminal Investigation; the U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General; and the St. Tammany Parish and Jefferson Parish Sheriffs’ Departments. Trial Attorney Hayden Brockett and Assistant United States Attorney David Haller are in charge of the prosecution.