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Press Release

Dominican National Pleads Guilty to Tax Refund Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft

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

BOSTON – A Dominican national pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to participating in a stolen identity refund fraud scheme that filed fraudulent federal income tax returns claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds.

Junior Alberto Lopez, 32, a Dominican national residing in Dorchester, pleaded guilty to one count of false claims conspiracy, three counts of access device fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.  U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for Sept. 18, 2017.  Lopez was originally arrested in April 2015 and fled to the Dominican Republic shortly after his release on bail.  Lopez was re-arrested there in December 2016 and extradited to the United States in March 2017.

Between May 2011 and February 2013, Lopez and his co-conspirators unlawfully obtained the names, addresses and dates of birth of more than 700 residents of Puerto Rico and elsewhere.  They created and filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) false income tax returns for the tax years 2010, 2011, and 2012, claiming refunds on behalf of those identity fraud victims.  Lopez and his conspirators directed the IRS to issue tax refund checks and to deposit tax refunds onto prepaid debit cards, which were delivered to addresses in Boston and elsewhere that the conspiracy controlled.  Lopez and his co-conspirators cashed and redistributed the checks and debit cards.

This case is part of Operation Point Break, a multi-agency federal law enforcement initiative aimed at combatting stolen identity refund fraud across the country.

The charges of fraud and conspiracy provide for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison, to be served consecutively to the other charges. Lopez will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today.  The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in securing Lopez’s extradition to the United States.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Kosto of Weinreb’s Criminal Division is prosecuting the case.

Updated June 22, 2017

Identity Theft