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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Theft Of Government Property And Identity Theft

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that George Y. Salameh pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Salameh was charged by a criminal complaint on May 7, 2013. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, in August 2011, Salameh joined a conspiracy in which a co-conspirator, Abas Issa, would obtain fraudulent tax refund checks and fraudulent tax refund anticipation loan checks from a source in Tampa. Issa would provide the checks to individuals like Salameh who, for a fee, would then deposit the fraudulent checks into a business banking account. Once the checks cleared, Salameh would provide the net proceeds to Issa. Many of the checks involved the identities of deceased individuals who were actually dead at the time the fraudulent tax returns were filed. During 2011, Salameh deposited $129,502.71 in fraudulent tax refund checks or tax refund anticipation loan checks.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mac D. Heavener, III.

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Updated January 26, 2015