Worcester Woman Sentenced for Stealing Identities
BOSTON – A Worcester woman was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Worcester in connection with filing false tax returns.
Lydia Torres, 45, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to one year and one day in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $393,093 to the Internal Revenue Service. In August 2016, Torres pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false claims and identity theft
Beginning around 2010 and 2011, Torres received lists of personal identifying information including, among other things, the names and social security numbers of real people, many of whom resided in Puerto Rico. In addition, she received copies of Puerto Rican tax withholding statements, Social Security cards and Puerto Rican identification cards. Torres used this information to prepare false tax returns in the names of these individuals – making it appear as though the individuals resided and worked in one of the fifty states. In some cases, Torres inserted false dependents on the tax returns to increase the amount of the fraudulent tax refund. She also used this personal identifying information to prepare and file false and fraudulent tax returns that included false Schedule C businesses. Torres submitted these false tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service in order to obtain false tax refund checks. In total, Torres submitted false returns seeking refunds in the amount of approximately $764,000, and the IRS paid out $393,093. Torres received a portion of those funds for her part in the fraud. At least 130 victims had their identities stolen in connection with this scheme.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karin M. Bell, Chief of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office, prosecuted the case.