Allentown Business Owner Admits to Identity Theft and Pursuing Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Fraudulent Federal Tax Refunds
PHILADELPHIA, PA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Stalyn Morales, 42, of Easton, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of submitting false claims to the United States and one count of aggravated identity theft before United States District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl.
The charges stem from the defendant’s participation in a scheme to obtain federal income tax refunds using other individuals’ stolen identities. As he admitted in court, the defendant sought more than $295,000 in fraudulent refunds from the IRS.
Investigators discovered the fraud through an analysis of the computers and computer servers located in the defendant’s business, MDFA Auto, in Allentown, PA. Evidence recovered from the shop showed that an IP address associated with the business was the source of fraudulent electronic tax filings. Also found were a digital cache of stolen identities, fraudulent taxes, falsified identity documents, and a spreadsheet documenting this criminal activity. Nearly all of the more than $295,000 in requested refunds were not issued to Morales because the IRS detected the fraud in time to deny most of the requests. As part of his plea, Morales will be ordered to pay restitution of the funds that were disbursed before the fraud was detected.
“Morales’ scheme victimized honest taxpayers in two ways: first, by stealing their identities and second, by trying to rip off the federal government,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Now, he will face the consequences, as will anybody else who attempts to carry out a similar scheme.”
“Mr. Morales sought to willfully defraud the United States Treasury. He did so with a blatant disregard for the victims of his scheme,” said IRS Criminal Investigation SpecialAgent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. “His willful act of filing fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities is a felony offense; one that has severe consequences.”
The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of seven years in prison, four years of supervised release, and up to a $500,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Ignall.