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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 4, 2016

Supermarket Owner, Accomplice Sentenced in Identity Theft, Tax Fraud Scheme

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Juan Vasquez, 53, of Providence, the mastermind behind a long-running scheme to use the stolen identities of more than 400 individuals on fraudulent tax returns resulting in the receipt of more than $2.6 million in fraudulent tax refunds, was sentenced today to 6 years in federal prison to be followed by 3 years supervised release. Vasquez ran the scheme out of his business, the former Dominican Supermarket in Pawtucket.

An accomplice to Juan Vasquez, his sister Belkis Vasquez, 50, of Central Falls, was sentenced today to serve 3 years probation, the first 8 months in home detention with GPS electronic monitoring, and was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

Juan Vasquez were ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $2,682,042.88. Belkis Vasquez was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $325,490.

Juan Vasquez pleaded guilty on August 19, 2016, to one count of conspiracy and one count of aggravated identity theft. Belkis Vasquez pleaded guilty on August 17, 2016, to one count of conspiracy.

The sentences, imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, are announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; Brian Deck, Resident Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service; and Pawtucket Police Chief Paul King.

On September 27, 2016, a federal jury convicted Doris Morel 44, of Central Falls, a full-time cashier at the Dominican Supermarket, on one count of conspiracy, one count of theft of government property, four counts of money laundering and four counts of aggravated identity theft. The jury also convicted Erika Tomasino, 44, of Central Falls, a secretary for Juan Vasquez, on one count of conspiracy, one count of theft of government property, three counts of mail fraud, three counts of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Morel and Tomasino are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on December 22, 2106.

According to the government’s evidence, for nearly four years, beginning in January 2010, the defendants participated in a scheme in which they used stolen personal identifying information of more than 400 individuals, most of whom are residents of Puerto Rico, to file fraudulent tax returns.

According to the government’s evidence, fraudulent treasury checks were mailed to various locations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York, and later deposited by the co-conspirators into 26 different bank accounts. The bank accounts were controlled by the co-conspirators or other individuals affiliated with the Dominican Supermarket.

The government’s evidence showed that the defendants and their co-conspirators withdrew the proceeds of the checks, caused others to withdraw some of the proceeds, transferred the proceeds between accounts, and spent the funds on personal expenses. Additionally, according to the government’s evidence, more than $235,000 of fraudulently obtained funds were transferred to a bank in the Dominican Republic.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra R. Hebert and John P. McAdams.

The matter was investigated by Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the United States Secret Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Pawtucket Police Department.

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Contact:

Jim Martin (401) 709-5357

email: USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

on Twitter @USAO_RI

 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
16-108
Updated November 4, 2016