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Press Release

Allentown Man Convicted of Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

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

A federal jury today found Abel Gonzalez, 46, guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of government money, and aggravated identity theft, announced Acting United States Attorney Louis Lappen.

The evidence at trial proved that Gonzalez participated in a scheme to defraud the United States by filing false income tax returns using stolen identities of Puerto Rico residents. Gonzalez and other members of the scheme ensured they controlled the addresses listed on the tax returns. Once the tax refund checks were mailed to and collected from the addresses he controlled, Gonzalez cashed the fraudulently obtained checks at multiple check cashing businesses he and others operated. Between 2010 and 2012, Gonzalez and others in the scheme cashed over $2 million of fraudulently obtained United States Treasury tax refund checks.

Gonzalez faces a sentence of incarceration including a mandatory minimum sentence of two years’ imprisonment for each of the aggravated identity theft convictions, followed by three years of supervised release. He also faces a possible fine and mandatory payment of full restitution.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tiwana Wright and Jennifer B. Jordan.

Updated April 18, 2017