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Press Release

Atlanta Man Pleads Guilty in Federal Court for Using Identification of Mexican Nationals to Attempt Tax Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Cristobal Guevara Castelan, age 31, of Atlanta, Georgia, pled guilty in federal court in Anderson.  Castelan pled guilty to committing fraud in connection with the use of identification information in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028.  United States District Judge Timothy Cain, of Anderson, accepted the plea and will impose a sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Castelan coordinated with another individual to use the identities and identification of Mexican nationals to apply for Internal Revenue Service Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs).  ITINs are legal identification numbers used to file tax returns by non-resident or resident alien individuals who are present in the country and who are performing work for employers that are withholding various federal monies from the individual’s wages.  The ITINs permit the non-resident or resident alien, who does not possess a social security number, to file a legal tax return and to receive, where appropriate, refunds due.  Castelan, however, was appropriating the identities of individuals, from Mexico, who had not actually performed any work in the United States, to apply illegally for ITINs and then, subsequently, for fraudulent returns.  Through the investigative efforts of the IRS, Castelan’s scheme was disrupted before any improper refunds were actually paid out by the federal government.

Ms. Drake stated that the maximum penalty the defendant can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 15 years, plus a special assessment of $100.

The case was investigated by Special Agent Edwin Rogers of the Internal Revenue Service.  Assistant United States Attorney D. Josev Brewer of the Greenville office handled the case.

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Contact

D. Josev Brewer (864) 282-2100

Updated November 7, 2017