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Press Release

Former Utica Resident Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Identity Theft and Theft of Fraudulent Tax Refunds

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

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced today that ANAS K. WILSON, 32, a former resident of Utica, New York, has pled guilty to one count of theft of government property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641 and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1). Mr. Wilson faces up to ten years in prison on the theft of government property count and a two-year mandatory minimum sentence on the aggravated identify theft count. Sentencing is scheduled for April 14, 2015, before Senior District Judge Frederick, J. Scullin, Jr.

At a change of plea hearing on December 4, 2014, Mr. Wilson admitted that he electronically filed fraudulent U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns on behalf of victims who were not entitled to tax refunds, and that he directed the tax refunds received to bank accounts that he had established. Mr. Wilson directed other individuals to withdraw the funds from the accounts and provide him the money, in exchange for a fee. To execute the scheme, Mr. Wilson illegally utilized personal identifying information (including Social Security numbers and names) of the victims. Mr. Wilson was responsible for submitting fraudulent tax returns to the IRS that resulted in the release of more than $400,000 in false tax refunds by the IRS.

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said, “Filing fraudulent tax returns with stolen identities is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country. It is estimated our nation is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year in bogus refunds – money that is meant to be used to make American lives safer and better. Theft of tax refunds is a crime against the American people. Our office continues to work diligently with the IRS to stop this crime.”

Shantelle P. Kitchen, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of IRS-Criminal Investigation, stated, “The investigation of tax refund schemes that involve the theft of taxpayers’ identities is a top priority for IRS-Criminal Investigation. We are committed to stopping individuals who seek to use our nation’s tax system for personal profit, especially at the expense of law abiding taxpayers.” Craig W. Rupert, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (“DCIS”) Northeast Field Office stated, “This guilty plea demonstrates the continued commitment of DCIS and fellow agencies in pro-actively identifying individuals and groups intent on perpetrating schemes which defraud the American taxpayer. The exploitation of government programs by way of identity theft or any other scheme will not be tolerated.”

This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and DCIS, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael F. Perry.

For additional information, contact Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John G. Duncan at 315-448-0672.

Updated February 10, 2015