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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Warren County, Kentucky Resident Guilty Of Scheming With Others To File False Tax Returns To Obtain Fraudulent Tax Refunds

Paid Mexican Nationals for Identification

Agreement includes $731,293.52 restitution

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A resident of Bowling Green, KY, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court this week, before U.S. District Judge Greg N. Stivers, to charges of mail fraud and of entering into an agreement to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by obtaining the payment of fraudulent claims, announced U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.

According to the plea agreement, Fernando Diaz Herrera conspired with others between June 23, 2010, and August 8, 2012 to defraud the IRS and U.S. Department of Treasury, by obtaining false claims. Specifically, Herrera paid Mexican Nationals, who lived outside the United States, for their means of identification, including birth certificates, immunization records and voter cards. The defendant and others then used these documents to obtain Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN). Herrera then used the ITINs to prepare and file fraudulent federal income tax returns – which caused federal income tax refunds to be dispersed. Herrera admits to cashing the fraudulent refund checks at financial institutions and businesses in Kentucky. Further, for the purposes of executing the scheme, Herrera admits to mail fraud when he caused a letter providing a falsely obtained ITIN to be sent from the IRS office in Austin, Texas, to an address in Bowling Green.

Herrera was charged by grand jury indictment, along with co-defendants Maria Chavez Salazar and Julio Ramos, on December 10, 2014.

If convicted at trial, Herrera could have been sentenced to a combined maximum term of 30 years in prison, fined $500,000 and served a three-year term of supervised release.

Sentencing is scheduled before Judge Stivers on November 23, 2015, in Bowling Green.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Gregory and is being investigated by the United States Secret Service.

Updated August 6, 2015