Manchester Man Receives 18 Month Prison Sentence For Fraudulent Tax Returns Scheme
CONCORD, N.H. – Kenneth Feliz, 53, of Manchester and the former owner of the Smug Peach check cashing business in Nashua, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in a fraudulent federal income tax scheme, announced Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from January 2012 to December 2013, Gladys Pena, a resident of Bronx, New York, couriered 161 U.S. Treasury tax refund checks, totaling more than $1.1 million, from New York New York, to Feliz in New Hampshire. As Pena knew, the checks were obtained from the Internal Revenue Service by conspirators who filed fraudulent income tax returns using legitimate taxpayers’ stolen social security numbers and other personal identifying information. Feliz knowingly cashed the checks in exchange for fees that were equal to 10 percent of the value of each check.
Feliz previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal public money, theft of public, money and aggravated identity theft.
On May 22, 2017, Pena was sentenced to a 54-month term of incarceration for her role in the scheme. Feliz and Pena are also required to make restitution payments totaling $1,095,879.44 to the United States Treasury.
“Tax refund schemes such as this not only steal money from taxpayers but also cause serious harm to the individuals who have their identification information stolen,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Farley. “We will continue to work closely with the IRS to protect the integrity of the tax system and to protect the public from identity theft crimes.”
“Investigating identity theft and tax refund fraud is a top priority for IRS Criminal Investigation,” said Special Agent in Charge Joel P. Garland. “Each phase of this crime is a serious offense, from stealing innocent victims’ identities, to filing false tax returns, and cashing fraudulently-obtained refund checks as Mr. Feliz did. This sentence highlights our commitment, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to eradicate identity theft, safeguard honest taxpayers and protect the integrity of our Nation’s tax system.”
The case was by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Manchester, with assistance from the IRS/CI office in New York, N.Y. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bill Morse and Bob Kinsella.