IRS Cooperator Pleads Guilty to Falsifying Digital Audio Tape in a Federal Investigation for Financial Gain
BOSTON – A Lawrence man who was working as a paid cooperator for the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with falsifying audio recordings in a federal investigation.
Erick Santiago-Then, 36, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of falsifying records in a federal investigation. U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for Jan. 3, 2018.
In February 2014, Santiago-Then was working as a paid cooperator for IRS-CI. As part of his work uncovering evidence against the perpetrators of a stolen identity refund fraud scheme, Santiago-Then was given IRS-CI funds and authorized to set up a controlled meeting for the purpose of purchasing fraudulently-obtained tax refund checks. However, Santiago-Then set up a sham meeting with a cohort during which time he obtained a list of personal identifying information, rather than tax refund checks. Following the controlled meeting, and unbeknownst to IRS-CI, Santiago-Then split the IRS-CI funds with his cohort. Santiago-Then subsequently engineered several recorded phone calls during which his cohort posed as someone else and purportedly gave Santiago-Then the run around concerning the purported mix up regarding the tax refund checks.
The charge of falsifying records in a federal investigation provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. 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; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Stephen A. Marks, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Boston Field Office; and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Boston Field Division, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. DiSantis of Weinreb’s Public Corruption Unit is prosecuting the case.