Former Postal Worker Charged With Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
NEWARK, N.J. – A former postal worker who allegedly used stolen identities to assist in the filing of fraudulent tax returns to generate false U.S. Treasury checks was charged today for his involvement in the scam, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Luis Martin, 24, of Trenton, New Jersey, was arrested this morning by special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, postal inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, special agents of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and special agents of the U.S. Secret Service. He is charged by complaint with one count of stealing government funds. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
Background on Stolen Identify Refund Fraud
Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) is a common type of fraud committed against the United States government that involves the use of stolen identities to commit tax refund fraud. SIRF schemes generally share a number of hallmarks:
- SIRF perpetrators obtain personal identifying information, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth, from unwitting individuals, who often reside in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
- SIRF perpetrators complete Form 1040 tax returns using the fraudulently obtained information and falsifying wages earned, taxes withheld, and other data, always ensuring that the fraudulent tax return generates a refund.
- They direct the U.S. Treasury Department to mail refund checks to locations that the perpetrators control or can access.
- With the fraudulently obtained refund checks in hand, SIRF perpetrators generate cash proceeds by depositing the checks into bank accounts that they control.
From June 2014 through February 2015, Martin allegedly caused to be filed 13 fraudulent Form 1040s, claiming $75,380 in fraudulent tax refund payments from the U.S. Treasury. He allegedly used his position as a postal worker in Monmouth County, New Jersey, to facilitate the scheme.
The count of theft of government funds with which Martin is charged is carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen; postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates; special agents of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Monica S. Weyler; and special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl Agnelli, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest and charge.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melissa Wangenheim and Elisa Wiygul of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the Defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Carl J. Herman Esq., West Orange, New Jersey