Federal Search Warrants Target Nashville Area Tax Preparation Businesses
Four Individuals Arrested and $1.1 Million Seized in Latest Phase of
Four persons were arrested last week and charged with participating in an income tax refund fraud scheme, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. The fraudulent returns were filed in January and February of this year and sought millions of dollars in refunds.
Those arrested were Byron Fernandez-Virula, Sr., 40; Byron Fernandez-Virula, Jr., 23; and Wilmar Soto-Virula, 33; all from the Madison area of Nashville; and Victor Oliva, 38, of Hendersonville, Tenn. Fernandez-Virula, Sr. and Soto-Virula were also charged with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
The arrests follow the execution of 10 federal search warrants on April 15, 2015, at various residences and tax return businesses throughout Middle Tennessee, including Soto’s Income Tax Service in Madison; Soto’s Services 2 in Hermitage; Soto’s Income Tax in Springfield; Soto Services 1 in Gallatin; and S’ Income Tax Services in Nashville.
The searches yielded approximately $497,000 in cash seized from Fernandez-Virula Sr.’s, and disclosed his ownership of more than 15 residential properties that are collectively worth more than $1 million. The search warrants also resulted in the seizure of about $500,000 from Olvia; the additional seizure of more than $100,000 from various locations and bank accounts; and several late model, luxury automobiles.
According to the criminal complaint, the scheme involved the filing of income tax returns that contained an array of false information, including false W-2s, false wages and withholding tax information and false dependents and taxpayer names. Many of the participants have been confirmed to be illegal aliens. The investigation thus far has led to the arrest and conviction of more than 25 participants.
“The people engaged in these crimes are stealing money from honest, hardworking U.S. tax payers,” said U.S. Attorney David Rivera. “Federal investigators will continue to aggressively pursue all evidence available in this case, to wherever, and to whomever, that evidence leads.”
"IRS Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority," stated Christopher A. Henry, Special Agent in Charge. "At the IRS, protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take very seriously. With the help of our law enforcement partners, we will vigorously pursue those who undermine the integrity of the U.S. tax system, and work to recover any monetary loss to the U.S. Treasury."
"Identifying financial crimes that threaten the health of our national economy and exposing criminals who attempt to steal from law-abiding taxpayers will continue to be a major investigative priority for HSI," said Acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Cindy M. Johnson.
The case is being jointly investigated by the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigations; Homeland Security Investigations; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hilliard Hester.