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Justice News

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

Friday, November 4, 2016

Two More Individuals Sentenced in Tax Fraud and Money Laundering Case

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Nov. 3, 2016, Luis Carvajal, 52, of Loudon, Tenn., was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 30 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to submit false tax returns and a conspiracy to commit money laundering. Carvajal previously pleaded guilty to both these charges. 

Amado Valdez-Morales, 50, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., was also sentenced by Chief Judge Varlan to serve 42 months in prison, for his role in the false tax return and money laundering conspiracies as well as illegal entry by a previously deported felon.  Valdez-Morales, who is an illegal immigrant and citizen of Honduras, previously pleaded guilty to these charges. 

In addition to their prison sentences, Carvajal was ordered to forfeit a residence in Loudon, $376,152 in seized funds and received a money judgement against him for $7,859,000.  Valdez-Morales was ordered to forfeit $630 in cash seized by federal investigators and received a money judgement against him in the amount of $2.5 million. He will also be subject to deportation to Honduras upon his release from prison.

The offenses of Carvajal and Valdez-Morales were part of a scheme that involved the use of phony identification documents for the submission of fraudulent federal income tax returns in order to obtain refundable tax credits.  The scheme resulted in the theft of more than $10.8 million from the U.S. taxpayers.  Other who were previously sentenced for their roles in these conspiracies included: husband and wife Bertha Del Pilar Vargas, 48, and Martin Ayala, 45, both of Knoxville, Tenn.; Mayra Edith Blair, 41, of Knoxville, Tenn.; and Nery Irrael Grande-Jinenez, of Durham, N.C.

Agencies involved in this investigation included the Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Tennessee Highway Patrol Identity Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank M. Dale, Jr. and Jennifer Kolman represented the United States.                                                     


Updated November 4, 2016