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Press Release

Middlesex County Man Charged with Defrauding the United States through Filing of False Claims

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

TRENTON, N.J. – A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man was arrested today for his role in a scheme to defraud the IRS by making false claims for income tax refunds and conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Luis Crespo, 42, of Sayreville, New Jersey is scheduled to appear by this afternoon by video conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zahid N. Quraishi in connection with an indictment, unsealed today, that charges Crespo with conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims and with filing false, fictitious and fraudulent claims.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Crespo was allegedly part of a conspiracy led by Michael Watsey, who orchestrated a scheme to file false claims or cause the filing of false claims, namely the filing of 16 false tax returns in the years 2014 through 2017. Watsey created false Forms W2-G, which showed significant gambling winnings and Federal tax withheld. Participants in this scheme were Watsey, his family members, Crespo and other associates. Watsey filed or caused the filing of 16 false tax returns with false Forms W2-G, requesting a total of $3.9 million in false federal tax refunds with a total of $1.29 million actually being received. Crespo used false Forms W2-G created by Watsey in the filing of his 2016 and 2017 false tax returns. Those returns requested a total of $508,787 in false federal tax refunds with a total of $510,668 actually being paid by the IRS.

Watsey pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson on Jan. 3, 2020, and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 15, 2020.

The conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The false, fictitious or fraudulent claims counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. 

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the IRS, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez, with the investigation leading to the charges and arrest.

The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney=s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated September 24, 2020

Press Release Number: 20-318