Hialeah Man Pleads Guilty in $8 Million Laundering Scheme Involving Proceeds of Mortgage Fraud and Tax Refund Fraud
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Robert Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office and Michael J. De Palma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) announced that on September 5, 2018, Yant Garcia, 38 of Hialeah, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.
According to the plea document, beginning around 2012, and continuing through around 2015, Garcia agreed with others to launder the proceeds of an identity theft tax refund scheme and mortgage fraud scheme by cashing checks in names of persons who were not present at check-cashing stores in Miami.
In or around 2013, Garcia’s co-conspirators submitted fraudulent tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using stolen personal identity information seeking refunds ranging in value from $130,000 to $170,000. In total, the Department of Treasury paid out approximately $4.3 million in fraudulent refund claims by mailing out tax refund checks. The defendant and a co-conspirator met with the owner of a check-cashing store in Hialeah and the true owner of the store agreed to cash these checks for a thirty percent fee.
In or around 2015, Garcia and his co-conspirators engaged in a mortgage fraud scheme on a property in Miami Beach. Garcia and his coconspirators submitted fraudulent loan applications and received approximately $3.7 million in proceeds from this mortgage fraud via interstate wire to the account of the fake title company in Miami. Garcia then provided checks to co-conspirators who cashed these checks at check-cashing stores in South Florida in the names of payees who were not present.
Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on November 14, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.