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Press Release

Foreign National Sentenced for Role in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme Using Hacked UPMC Employee Info

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

PITTSBURGH - A foreign national residing outside of the United States has been sentenced in federal court to term of imprisonment of time served as to Count 17 and six months imprisonment as to Count 18, to run consecutive as to Count 17 on his conviction of charges of money laundering and aggravated identity theft, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak imposed the sentence on Yoandy Perez Llanes.

According to the information presented to the court, early in 2014, thousands of employees of UPMC had their personal information stolen by hackers, who intruded into a UPMC database and stole names, social security numbers, and PII. This data was then used to file false 2013 federal tax returns. Investigators learned that names and other identifiers were used by Llanes and other conspirators to file 935 false tax returns in which unlawful refunds were requested in the form of gift cards. Quick action by the IRS, UPMC, and frustrated the efforts of the fraudsters to file additional false returns and obtain further fraudulent proceeds. Though the perpetrators sought approximately $2.2 million in fraudulent refunds, $1.4 million was actually disbursed in gift cards, which were used by the fraudsters to purchase electronic merchandise.

This criminal scheme was complex and crossed national borders. Llanes and the conspirators used anonymous and encrypted email to disguise their identities and proxy computers to file returns. Using the fraudulently obtained gift cards, Llanes and others purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars in electronic merchandise for shipment through reshipping services in Miami, Florida, to overseas destinations in Maracay or Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song commended the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the United States Secret Service and the United States Postal Inspection Service for the successful investigation leading the prosecution of Yoandy Perez Llanes.

Updated October 24, 2017

Identity Theft