Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced today that an Anderson man has been charged with theft of public money. Dwayne S. Peak, 64, Anderson, Indiana, is alleged to be involved in a scheme where identity theft victims had tax returns prepared under their name and the refund was deposited into Peak’s account.
“Defrauding the IRS takes money from the United States Treasury and ultimately is stealing from the American public,” said Minkler. “Those who choose this illegal activity will be held accountable.”
Peak profited from the receipts of 21 fraudulent tax refunds from the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, totaling over $238,000. The government alleges Peak set up several bank accounts in order to receive the fraudulent refunds which are believed to have been prepared by unknown individuals. Three of the accounts had been opened just weeks prior to Peak receiving the illegal refunds. Peak is alleged to have received the refunds and kept a percentage for himself then forwarded the remaining balance of the money to others.
The victims in this case are the Internal Revenue Service and several individuals whose identities were illegally used to file false tax returns in order to steal funds. One identity theft victim told investigators that they were not involved in the filing of a federal return that resulted in a refund and signed an affidavit documenting the incident with the IRS.
This investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.
“Identity theft and refund fraud are top priorities for IRS Criminal Investigation,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge John C. Pesnichak. “We are vigilant in our investigations of these schemes and will continue to work with the United States Attorney Office and our federal partners to protect the American people and the United States Treasury.”
Assistant United States Attorney James M. Warden who is prosecuting the case for the government, said Peak could receive 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
An Information is merely a charge and not evidence of guilt. All parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty in federal court.