Scranton Man Charged With Participating In A $3.5 Million Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Conspiracy
SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Brian Reyes, age 29, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was charged in a criminal information with one count of conspiring to defraud the government with respect to tax claims.
According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Reyes owned and operated Reyes Services LLC, a Scranton, Pennsylvania-based check cashing business. From January 2011 to June 2015, Reyes and his co-conspirators used stolen identities to prepare and file false federal income tax returns, unbeknownst to their victims. Reyes’s co-conspirators obtained the income tax refund checks from those fraudulent returns and provided them to Reyes, who cashed the fraudulently obtained checks at his business. Reyes kept a portion of each check cashed as compensation. The scheme netted at least $3,547,642 in false claims paid by the U.S. Treasury.
The government seized $48,933 during the course of the investigation. The government also filed a plea agreement with Reyes to the charges. Reyes was charged on August 9, 2016, and pleaded guilty on October 18, 2016, but the matter remained under seal until today. Reyes is scheduled to be sentenced on November 2, 2017.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorneys William Houser and Phillip J. Caraballo are prosecuting the case.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under federal law is five years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
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