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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Two Honduran Nationals, Sentenced For Conspiracy, Aggravated Identity Theft

United States Attorney Kenneth Polite and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ronald A. Cimino of the Justice Department’s Tax Division announced today that YONI PERDOMO, 35, was sentenced to 38 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false income tax returns and for aggravated identity theft.  In addition, SANTOS MARTIN HERNANDEZ, 41, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy to defraud the United States.  The defendants were further ordered to pay restitution and to serve terms of supervised release. 

Both defendants have been detained since their arrest, and as Honduran nationals they face possible deportation following the completion of their sentences.  They were charged with being part of a multi-jurisdictional conspiracy to file false income tax returns.  To date, 16 defendants have entered guilty pleas to various charges in the case, including JACQUELINE J. ARIAS, a tax return preparer in Spruce Pine, Alabama, who is pending sentencing.

According to the indictments in this case, the conspirators 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.  As alleged in the indictments, ARIAS was a certified acceptance agent, entrusted by the IRS with the responsibility of reviewing the documentation of an ITIN applicant’s identity and alien status for authenticity, completeness and accuracy before submitting their application to the IRS.  The indictments charged that ARIAS and her coconspirators filed false applications for ITINs, in addition to false income tax returns, and that ARIAS collected preparation fees from the fraudulently-obtained tax refunds.  According to the second superseding indictment, the conspirators purchased identification documents from overseas and Forms W-2 from other aliens illegally present in the United States for use in filing false income tax returns with ARIAS.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; IRS-Criminal Investigation; the U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, in partnership with the St. Tammany Parish and Jefferson Parish Sheriffs’ Departments. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Hayden Brockett and Kevin Lombardi of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Haller.

Updated November 18, 2014