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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 19, 2014

United States Attorney’s Office Announces Sentencing Of Local Businessman On Identity Theft Charges

Indianapolis man defrauded taxpayers and government of nearly $890,000

INDIANAPOLIS – Josh J. Minkler, Acting United States Attorney, announced today the sentencing of an Indianapolis businessman found guilty of theft of government money and aggravated identity theft. Basilio Estevez, 61, was sentenced 36 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young.

“Identity theft is one of the fasting growing crimes in our country, said Minkler. “When you our social security numbers and dates of birth are stolen by people like today’s defendant, we feel personally violated.”

In February 2012, Estevez purchased a check cashing business called Rodriguez Check Cashing (RCC) in Indianapolis. Estevez then opened several bank accounts under the business name RCC. From February 2012 through April 2013, investigators identified 84 fraudulent tax refund checks deposited into the RCC account totaling over $889,000. Half of the checks were directed to addresses in New York and New Jersey; the other 42 were directed to addresses in Indianapolis.

Background investigations of the individuals listed as tax payers were revealed to be residents of Puerto Rico and never lived at the address where the fraudulent refund checks were mailed. All the refund checks used Form W-2’s using false wages and federal withholding information. Estevez withdrew a large amount of money from the RCC account in cash for his personal use.

A “decoy” IRS refund check was sent to Estevez’s Indianapolis residence in April 2013, and deposited into the RCC account which eventually led to his arrest.

This case is the result of a collaborative effort by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Investigators with the Postal Inspection Service provided key information in securing Estevez’s conviction and sentencing today.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Winfield D. Ong, who prosecuted the case for the government, Estevez faces three years of supervised release after his sentence and must pay $889, 000 in restitution to the U.S. Government.

Updated January 26, 2015