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Justice News

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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Orlando Man Pleads Guilty To More Than $300,000 In Attempted Tax Fraud

Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Hussein Chery pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts of mail fraud and one count of access device fraud. Chery faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each mail fraud count, and up to 10 years in federal prison for the access device fraud count. A sentencing date has not been scheduled. Chery was indicted on May 8, 2013.

According to his plea agreement, Chery was stopped by an Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy on March 22, 2012, for a traffic violation. A consent search of Chery’s vehicle resulted in the discovery of 38 cash/debit cards that were issued in the names of other people, a bundled assortment of delivered mail addressed to individuals other than Chery, and four notebooks containing handwritten information that corresponded to the debit cards.

Further investigation determined that Chery was part of a group of individuals who used stolen personal information to submit false income tax returns. The fraudulently obtained refunds were deposited onto prepaid debit cards that were issued in the victims’ name. Those prepaid debit cards were mailed to abandoned homes and others addresses located in Central Florida, where they were then retrieved by Chery and others. The participants in the scheme then attempted to use the debit cards to withdraw cash or pay for personal items.

The debit cards and notebooks found in Chery’s possession contained approximately 200 names of victims whose identities were used in some aspect of this scheme. Agents have found more than $340,000 in actual and attempted losses associated with the fraudulent tax returns that were filed using the stolen identities of the victims found in Chery’s notebooks.

This case was investigated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.

Updated January 26, 2015