Final Defendants Head to Prison for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
HOUSTON – A 35-year-old Spring resident and a Brooklyn, New York, man have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme to use stolen identities and file fraudulent federal tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Jason Maclaskey, of Spring, and Omar Butt, 31, a resident of Brooklyn, New York, previously pleaded guilty to the respective charges.
Today, U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt today sentenced Maclaskey to five years for conspiracy to defraud the United States. He had also been convicted of possession of a stolen firearm for which he received another five years. The 10-year-sentence will be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. Butt was ordered to serve 40 months in prison. A third defendant - Heather Dale, 25, a resident of Grant, Alabama – was previously sentenced to 24 months. The court also ordered them to pay restitution in the amount of $314,868.
The defendants – led by Maclaskey – unlawfully obtained the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers from 371 taxpayers and used this information to file false tax returns in their names in 2009. The defendants used this information to also set up fraudulent bank accounts at Inter National Bank and through NetSpend debit cards in these taxpayers’ names where the tax refunds would be directed. The defendants then withdrew this money using the NetSpend debit card at ATMs and by making purchases at various retail stores. Through this conspiracy, the defendants claimed a total of more than $1.4 million in false tax refunds, succeeded in withdrawing approximately more than $300,000 before the scheme was uncovered.
In addition, Maclaskey admitted he possessed 10 firearms and 2,000 rounds of ammunition on Nov. 1, 2011, when law enforcement agents executed a search warrant on his home in Spring. As part of his guilty plea, Maclaskey also admitted he knew one of these weapons was stolen.
Butt was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. Maclaskey will remain in custody.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharad S. Khandelwal is prosecuting the case.