Eight New York Residents Charged With Using Stolen Social Security Numbers To File False Tax Returns
Identity Theft And Bribery Part Of Scheme To Defraud U.S.
Six indictments and a complaint were unsealed today in federal court in Central Islip, New York, charging eight individuals, Rosa Adames, Ramon DeLosAngeles, Robert Diaz, Reyssy Duran, also known as “Tuti,” Nelson Guzman, Alex Rodriguez, Jokasta Taveras and David Turcios, each arising out of schemes to defraud the United States by using stolen Social Security numbers to file false income tax returns seeking refunds.1 Taveras will be arraigned before United States District Judge Leonard D. Wexler; Adames, Diaz, Rodriguez and Turcios will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson; DeLosAngeles will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay. Duran and Guzman remain at large. All arraignments will be held at the U.S. Courthouse, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip. The cases have been assigned to United States District Judges Leonard D. Wexler, Arthur D. Spatt and Denis R. Hurley.
The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Shantelle P. Kitchen, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS), Farrell Dolan, Resident Agent-in-Charge, United States Secret Service, Long Island Resident Office (USSS), Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge, New York Division, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Joseph A. D’Amico, Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP) and Thomas Krumpter, Acting Police Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD).
“As alleged, this collection of thieves victimized hundreds of unsuspecting Puerto Rican citizens, using their stolen identities to defraud the IRS and steal taxpayer dollars,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This scheme has metastasized throughout the country, which led to the formation of a special task force to combat such crimes. Since the formation of that task force, my Office has worked tirelessly to eradicate such crimes. Today’s arrests demonstrate my Office’s commitment to holding accountable those individuals who take advantage of the federal tax system for personal profit at the expense of the United States and honest taxpayers.”
IRS Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Kitchen stated, “The Internal Revenue Service takes identify theft very seriously. Vigorous criminal investigations and prosecutions are important components of the fight against stolen identity tax refund fraud. Although it has only been in existence for a short time, the “Identify Theft Task Force” has proven to be innovative and effective in these investigations. IRS-Criminal Investigation is proud of its leadership role on this task force and is most appreciative of the spirit of cooperation among its law enforcement partners.”
“Fraudulent schemes such as this have evolved significantly over the last several years,” said Farrell Dolan, Resident Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Long Island Resident Office. “Cooperation between law enforcement has allowed us to focus our resources and respond quickly to uncover criminal activity that exploits tax laws and financial institutions at the expense of US taxpayers.”
USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Bartlett stated, “The arrest of these individuals for participating in a scheme to defraud the IRS and victimize Puerto Rican residents, is an example of the commitment of Postal Inspectors and the law enforcement community to stamp out crime wherever it exists; keeping the mail safe and secure for the public.”
"Identity theft is a rapidly growing crime that causes its victims serious, far-reaching problems," State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico said. "As alleged, these eight people not only stole Social Security numbers from unsuspecting citizens, but used them to try to defraud the Federal Government. I am pleased that the New York State Police was once again able to partner with the United States Attorney's Office to help bring this important case to a successful conclusion."
According to the indictments, complaint and other court filings by the government, in each scheme, the defendants exploited tax laws that exempt Puerto Rican citizens from filing federal income tax returns, provided they derive their incomes solely from sources within Puerto Rico. The defendants, and coconspirators, illegally obtained identification information for Puerto Rican citizens, including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, and used that information to file false returns claiming large refunds with the IRS. Once filed, the defendants, and their coconspirators, allegedly bribed Postal Service employees to intercept mailed tax refund checks, which the defendants then negotiated at check-cashing services and banks. The schemes were uncovered in part by a law enforcement officer working in an undercover capacity. If convicted, the defendants face a range of imprisonment between 10 and 35 years.
In mid-2012, the IRS created a task force called the Identity Theft Task Force (ITTF) to address the growing issue of identity theft in New York. The ITTF combines the resources of several agencies to investigate identity theft, including investigating the use of stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns. The agencies currently participating in the ITTF include the IRS-Criminal Investigation; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; USSS; USPIS; New York City Police Department; Department of Social Security; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General; Federal Reserve Board, Office of Inspector General; USPIS, Office of Inspector General; Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General; and Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General. Since the creation of the ITTF, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York has arrested 25 defendants, including today’s cases, which are summarized below, for their roles in such identity theft schemes.
United States v. Rosa Adames, 14-CR-135 (ADS)
Between April 2011 and October 2011, Adames and her coconspirators allegedly cashed more than 100 fraudulently obtained tax refund checks worth approximately $600,000. The checks were cashed at a bank in Amityville.
United States v. Ramon DeLosAngeles, 14-MJ-240
On October 4, 2011, DeLosAngeles was in possession of more than 100 fraudulently obtained tax refund checks worth approximately $900,000.
United States v. Robert Diaz and Alex Rodriguez, 14-CR-133 (ADS)
Between June 2012 and June 2013, Diaz, Rodriguez and their coconspirators allegedly cashed more than 30 fraudulently obtained tax refund checks worth approximately $200,000. The checks were cashed at banks in Elmont, Freeport and Hempstead. Rodriguez and Diaz allegedly bribed a bank teller to cash those checks.
United States v. Reyssy Duran, 14-CR-132 (ADS)
Between June 2012 and June 2013, Duran and his coconspirators allegedly cashed more than 30 fraudulently obtained tax refund checks worth approximately $200,000. The checks were cashed at banks in Elmont, Freeport and Hempstead. Duran allegedly bribed a bank teller to cash those checks.
United States v. Nelson Guzman, 14-CR-134 (JS)
Between August 2011 and November 2013, Guzman and his coconspirators allegedly cashed more than 65 fraudulently obtained tax refund checks worth approximately $430,000. The checks were cashed at a check cashing service in Lindenhurst and Roosevelt. Guzman and his coconspirators allegedly bribed an employee of a check cashing service to cash the refund checks.
United States v. Jokasta Taveras, 14-CR-136 (LDW)
Between December 2011 and March 2012, Taveras and her coconspirators allegedly cashed approximately 14 fraudulently obtained tax refund checks worth approximately $105,000. Taveras worked at a bank in Farmingdale, which is where she allegedly cashed the checks.
United States v. David Turcios, 14-CR-137 (ADS)
Between June 2012 and June 2013, Turcios and his coconspirators allegedly cashed more than 40 fraudulently obtained tax refund checks worth approximately $280,000. The checks were cashed at banks in Elmont, Freeport and Hempstead. Turcios allegedly bribed a bank teller to cash those checks.
The government’s cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Caffarone.
Valley Stream, New York
Cairo, New York
Copiague, New York
Freeport, New York
Copiague, New York
Freeport, New York
Lindenhurst, New York
Roosevelt, New York
1 The charges contained in the indictments and complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.