Tax Fraudster Claims Prison Sentence
Scheme Used Stolen Identities To Claim Over $250,000 In Bogus Tax Refunds
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy announced that Arman Eritsian was sentenced in federal court yesterday to a 30-month prison term for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by filing false tax returns in the names of stolen identities. Eritsian is one of 20 defendants who have been sentenced in a series of tax and bank fraud prosecutions targeting organized groups that victimized individuals, financial institutions and the U.S. Treasury.
Eritsian, the lead defendant in one indictment, had earlier admitted that between 2010 and 2012, he conspired with others to steal the identifying information of unwitting victims in order to file false tax returns in their names. The conspirators would direct the IRS to pay bogus refund claims to addresses or bank accounts under their control, and then withdraw the fraud proceeds so they could be spent by the conspirators. For his part, Eritsian admitted that he obtained stolen identities that were later used to file fraudulent returns; utilized multiple addresses and bank accounts to receive tax refund checks; used email accounts to communicate details of the conspiracy with coconspirators; and employed debit cards to monitor accounts opened and maintained to receive fraudulent tax refunds.
Chief District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz explained that the sentence was warranted in part because Eritisan had sought to defraud the very nation that had welcomed him as a persecuted immigrant just a few years earlier. Eritsian emigrated from Azerbaijan to the United States as an asylum seeker, but soon thereafter began to participate in tax and insurance fraud schemes using stolen identities. Within a matter of months of being released from state custody for one of these scams, Eritsian joined others in the tax fraud scheme that led to his federal conviction and the sentence imposed yesterday.
Eritsian’s sentencing is the latest flowing from the September 2013 arrests of dozens of people in “Operation Trillions Trouble.” The four related cases charged over 50 defendants with multiple tax fraud conspiracies and several schemes to defraud American financial institutions. United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy praised the hard work of agents from the FBI and IRS-CI, along with their state and local counterparts, to disrupt and dismantle these fraud schemes and protect American taxpayers.
Erick Martinez, Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigation commented, “Identity theft and tax refund fraud were the lifeblood that Arman Eritsian and his co-conspirators used to further their massive fraud scheme. Yesterday’s sentencing of Eritsian, for his lead role in this crime ring, demonstrates IRS Criminal Investigation’s commitment to holding accountable those who victimize the public through brazen attempts at identity theft and tax refund fraud.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge, Eric S. Birnbaum commented, “The FBI will work tirelessly, using all investigative resources and intelligence capabilities, to dismantle sophisticated criminal enterprises that victimize the American public."
Eritsian was also ordered to pay $58,323 in restitution, most of which had already been collected by the IRS.
|DEFENDANT||Case Number: 13CR3480-BTM|
|Age: 36||Woodland Hills, California|
Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 371
Federal Bureau of Investigation