New York Man Pleads Guilty To Role In $1 Million Stolen Identity Refund Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bronx, New York, man today admitted his role in a scheme to obtain stolen identity information and use it to file phony tax returns with the IRS, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Jhan Luis Mejia Marcelino, 27, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, one count of theft of government funds, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Mejia admitted that from January 2013 through May 2014, he and others obtained stolen personal identifying information, including names and Social Security numbers, of victims located in New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere. Afterwards, Mejia and others used the information to file fraudulent federal tax returns. Mejia admitted that, once they received the refunds, they converted the checks to cash or other proceeds for their own benefit, causing losses of over $1 million to the U.S. Treasury.
The conspiracy offense is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The theft of government funds count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. Both counts are punishable by a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss resulting from the offense. The aggravated identity fraud charge is punishable by a mandatory two-year sentence to be served consecutively to any other term imposed.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Cynthia Shoffner; and the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Mark Mckevitt, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Wangenheim of the Criminal Division in Newark.