Defendant in Tax Fraud Scheme Involving Stolen Identities of Children Sentenced to 120 Months in Prison
PHILADELPHIA – A Darby, PA tax preparer, who used the identities of disabled children and children in foster care to file false federal income tax returns, was sentenced in federal court today to 120 months in prison and $83,870 restitution, announced U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain. Musa Turay, 44, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III.
Turay was a partner at Medmans Financial Services, a tax preparation business which operated two offices in Philadelphia. Turay and defendant Mohamed Mansaray, the other partner of the illegal business, ran the tax preparation business at 1869 S. 65th Street in Philadelphia.
Turay conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by falsifying information on income tax returns to generate fraudulent refunds. The defendant prepared and filed federal income tax returns for clients of his tax preparation business. These returns included intentional false deductions, fake credits, and fictitious dependents using the names and Social Security numbers of children who were unrelated to the taxpayers, some of whom were in the foster care system.
Turay prepared over 1,000 fraudulent tax returns, and the IRS estimated that the loss caused by the returns prepared by the defendant was approximately $8,000,000. The defendant also falsified his own personal income tax returns by falsely adding dependents to the returns. Additionally, he fled the country after the government filed a motion to revoke his bail. The defendant absconded for nine months, until he was ultimately apprehended and is currently being held in jail.
“As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., noted, ‘Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,’” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Our tax laws are in place for a reason. When they are ignored, especially to this extent, we all lose. The defendant not only violated the tax laws, but he victimized innocent children by using their information to further his criminal scheme. This was a long-running conspiracy, and our investigators and prosecutors were determined to ensure that the defendant was held accountable for his actions. This sentence should send a message to anyone who thinks he can flout the law and target vulnerable victims without consequence.”
Turay is the last of 11 defendants prosecuted in this investigation to be sentenced for their roles in the preparation of thousands of false tax returns. The total loss to the government caused by all the tax preparers who worked at Medmans Financial Services was more than $30,000,000. The harm done to the children who were the victims of the tax fraud, however, cannot be quantified. These children will forever be at risk for the improper use of their identity information. Many of the parents and legal guardians of the children who were victimized in this case found themselves unable to file their own tax returns and claim their own children as dependents, because their children already had been falsely claimed as dependents on fraudulent returns.
“Today's sentence exemplifies IRS Special Agents' intense focus on the rigorous pursuit of identity theft and refund fraud,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Guy Ficco. “Musa Turay and his co-conspirators perpetuated an elaborate scheme driven by insatiable greed and a blatant disregard for the tremendous damage inflicted on innocent victims. Be assured that IRS Criminal Investigation, together with our partners at the U.S. Attorney's Office, will hold those who engage in similar behavior fully accountable.”
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the City of Philadelphia Office of Inspector General, and the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General Office of Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Costello.