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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 20, 2014

Defendant Arraigned On Tax Fraud Charges

NEWNAN, Ga. - Damian Alarcon-Morales has been arraigned for fraudulently using the identities of Mexican nationals to obtain income tax refunds.  Alarcon-Morales was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 14, 2014.

“This defendant is charged with engaging in a cross-border scheme to defraud the tax system of over $700,000 in fraudulent refunds,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “Attempts to profit from fraudulent tax returns are increasing, and we will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute these cases.” 

“Identity theft is a despicable crime that victimizes honest taxpayers and causes immense hardship,” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Individuals who devise schemes to steal public money face federal prosecution and federal prison.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: On September 15, 2014, Alarcon-Morales was found in possession of federal income tax returns, Internal Revenue Service correspondence, Mexican identification documents, and handwritten notes.  The documents contained personal identifiers that corresponded to over 200 individuals, most of whom are Mexican nationals.  In most cases, the Mexican identification documents were used to obtain Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (“ITIN”) which are assigned to foreign nationals and others not eligible for Social Security Numbers, but who are required to file United States tax returns. 

The identifiers in Alarcon-Morales’ possession were linked to at least 175 fraudulent tax returns filed between 2011 and 2014.  Based upon these returns, the IRS issued over $700,000 in tax refund checks, which were dispersed to Alarcon-Morales and others.  This conduct is commonly referred to as Stolen Identity Refund Fraud.

Damian Alarcon-Morales, 31, of Newnan, Ga., was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Justin S. Anand.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation.  If you believe you may be a victim of tax return-related identity theft please contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490, extension 245 (Mon. - Fri., 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. local time).

Assistant United States Attorney Shanya J. Dingle is prosecuting the case.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Newnan Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.

Updated April 8, 2015