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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 25, 2014

Georgia Man Sentenced For Tax Fraud And Identity Theft

ATLANTA –Mauricio Warner has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for using the identities of thousands of unsuspecting individuals to file federal tax returns claiming over $5 million in bogus refunds. 

“Lengthy prison sentences wait for the growing number of criminals who use other people’s personal information to file phony tax returns,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “Mr. Warner deceived over 5,000 victims to get his hands on their names and Social Security numbers, and then used their information to steal over $5 million in fraudulent tax refunds.  He will now spend years behind bars and have to pay back his ill-gotten gains.  As this sentence shows, tax fraud and identity theft are crimes that do not pay.”

“IRS Criminal Investigation will remain proactive in the investigation of individuals who engage in stealing the identities of innocent people,” said Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. “We will continue to utilize every tool available to investigate those who victimize members of our community and innocent taxpayers for their own personal gain.  As the defendant in this case has learned, stealing from the American people will not be tolerated.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court:  From approximately January 2011 to April 2012, Warner filed over 5,000 false tax returns using the names and Social Security numbers of unsuspecting victims.  Victims were told they could submit an application for an “Obama stimulus payment” or “Free Government Money” by providing their names and Social Security numbers.  In addition to word-of-mouth marketing, Warner used toll-free telephone numbers to collect victims’ personal identifying information.  He then used the victims’ names and Social Security numbers to claim millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds.  On the returns, Warner claimed false income amounts and student credits to generate the bogus tax refunds, and directed the IRS to pay the refund amounts to bank accounts he controlled.  The victims did not know tax returns were being filed in their names.

Warner, 38, of Smyrna, Ga., was sentenced by United States District Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr. to 20 years in federal prison and three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $5,041,869  in restitution.  The Court also ordered the forfeiture of seven bank accounts controlled by Warner that contain $4,185,455.31 in funds derived from or involved in this scheme.  On April 18, 2014, a jury convicted Warner of 16 counts of wire fraud, 16 counts of aggravated identity theft, 16 counts of filing false claims, and two counts of money laundering.  Numerous victims testified at trial.  Warner was taken into custody after the verdict.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of 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 Attorneys Stephen H. McClain and Thomas J. Krepp prosecuted the case.

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

Updated April 8, 2015