Houston Man Sentenced in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
HOUSTON – A 35-year-old Houston resident has been ordered to federal prison for his role in a sophisticated tax fraud/identity theft scheme involving more than 800 victims, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Antolin Julio Nazario, 35, pleaded guilty April 27, 2015, to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. His wife - Thalia Diaz Camareno, 30 - was also convicted in the case, pleading guilty Oct. 5, 2015, to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt handed Nazario a total sentence of 92 months in prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. He was further ordered to pay a $807,096 in restitution.
Camareno is set for sentencing next week.
Both admitted that from approximately June 2010 to January 2012, they engaged in a scheme that involved the filing of hundreds of fraudulent tax returns, commonly referred to as Stolen Identity Refund Fraud. The Houston couple used stolen and unlawfully obtained personal identity information, including the names and Social Security numbers, of true persons to prepare fraudulent U.S. income tax returns.
Nazario aka Robinson Gomez Churon and Camareno aka Irene Carrero Echevarria mailed the fraudulent federal income tax returns through the U.S. Postal Service in order to generate and obtain tax refunds from the IRS to which they were not entitled and directed the fraudulently obtained tax refunds be disbursed as U.S. Treasury checks. The refunds were then used to obtain cash and goods for their own benefit.
The current fraudulent tax refund filings attributed to this couple have resulted in $4,095,959 potential loss, an excess of $800,000 paid out by the IRS and involves more than 800 victims whose identities were stolen to conduct the scheme.
Nazario will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. His wife is on bond pending her sentencing hearing.
IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Secret Service conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Elmilady is prosecuting the case.