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Press Release

Sentencing In $2.9 Million Stolen Identity Tax Scam

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

Grand Rapids businessman admits forging endorsements on $750,000 of US Treasury Checks

           GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Mateo Velasquez-Garcia, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sentenced to 48months’ incarceration and three years of supervised release for his convictions on one count of Forgery of U.S. Treasury Checks and one count of Illegal Re-entry by an Alien, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. announced today. Acting Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and Special Agent in Charge Marlon V. Miller of Homeland Security joined U.S. Attorney Miles in the announcement.

           Velasquez-Garcia operated a grocery store located at 1814 S. Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, Michigan. An investigation revealed that $2.9 million dollars’ worth of fraudulently obtained federal tax refund checks were deposited into the bank account for the Tienda La Nueva Esperanza grocery store during the years 2011 to 2012. Velasquez-Garcia admitted to federal agents that he personally placed false endorsements on the back of 115 of the U.S. Treasury checks, which were payable to third parties. The checks totaled $750,000.

           Velasquez-Garcia is also an alien. He was previously removed from the U.S. and has been found to be in the U.S. without the proper consent of the Attorney General or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

           The investigation of this case was conducted by Special Agents of the Homeland Security Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigation.


Updated April 13, 2015