Four People Charged in Stolen Identity Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme Targeting Banks and COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Funds
A South Florida resident was sentenced to 18 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for his involvement in an identity theft scheme involving the cashing of over $140,000 in altered tax refund checks.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Brian Swain, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Contreas Faison, 44, previously pled guilty to one count of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. As part of his plea agreement, Faison agreed to restitution in the amount of $140,000.
According to court documents, in 2013 and 2014, Faison obtained U.S. Treasury tax refund checks that had been fraudulently altered so that the taxpayer's name did not appear on the check. Instead, the check contained the name of the defendant's company or the name of another bank account holder. Faison deposited these checks into bank accounts in his name or in the name of other people, and then Faison used the proceeds for his own benefit. In total, the defendant cashed over $140,000 from fifteen different altered U.S. Treasury tax refund checks that were stolen or otherwise fraudulently obtained.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the IRS-CI and the USSS. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vanessa S. Snyder.