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Press Release

Richmond Resident Convicted Of Conspiracy To Commit Theft Of Public Property And Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

OAKLAND – A federal jury convicted Hugh Robinson today, of conspiracy to commit theft of public money, theft of public money, and aggravated identity theft  announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.  The verdict follows a six-day trial before the Honorable Jeffrey S. White, United States District Judge. 

Evidence at trial showed that Robinson, 46, of Richmond, was involved with more than ten co-conspirators in a scheme to defraud the United States of public money.  From at least August 21, 2013, through April 27, 2015, Robinson and others who were based in such places as Northern California, Los Angles, and Texas, cashed stolen and fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks.  The checks included stolen Social Security benefits checks and fraudulently obtained federal income tax refund checks.   As part of his scheme, Robinson and his co-conspirators acquired the personal identifying information (e.g., names, dates of birth, and social security numbers) of other people, including deceased people. Robinson then used the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of these individuals to file false federal tax returns.  The tax returns reported false wages to the IRS and fraudulently requested tax refunds.  The evidence at trial also established that Robinson took steps to ensure he would receive the fraudulent refunds corresponding to the false returns he filed.  For example, on some occasions, Robinson directed the IRS to deposit the tax refunds into bank accounts he owned or that belonged to his co-conspirators.  On other occasions, Robinson directed the IRS to mail the tax refund checks to his address or to the address of a co-conspirator on the false tax returns.

Robinson also acquired stolen U.S. Treasury checks.  To cash these checks, Robinson paid to have numerous fake identification cards created that matched the names listed on the U.S. Treasury checks, but that displayed a photo of Robinson or one of his co-conspirators. Robinson and others used the fake identifications to cash the checks at Walmart stores—in some instances with the help of Walmart employees that Robinson paid to assist him.

On November 5, 2015, a federal grand jury issued a Second Superseding Indictment charging Robinson with conspiracy to commit theft of public money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; seven counts of theft of public money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641; and seven counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A.  Today’s verdict establishes Robinson is guilty of all the counts with which he was charged in the indictment.

Hugh Robinson is scheduled to be sentenced on February 7, 2017, before Judge White.  The maximum sentence for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 is 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  The maximum penalty for each violation of 18 U.S.C § 641 is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  The mandatory minimum penalty for each count of identity fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 1028A, is two years in prison, consecutive to the underlying felony and a fine of $250,000.  However, any sentence would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Newman and Jose A. Olivera and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division are prosecuting this case, with the assistance of Jonathan Deville. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Updated December 27, 2016

Identity Theft