Man Sentenced to Fifty-Two Months in Prison for Multi-Million Dollar Tax Refund Scheme
Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on December 13, 2018, Deily Veras (age 33) of Newark, New Jersey, was sentenced in federal court to 52 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining over $2.7 million in tax refund checks.
The sentence followed his guilty plea to theft of government money, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A. Veras was also ordered to pay $2,766,926.15 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”).
Veras committed his theft by fraudulently obtaining the identities and Social Security Numbers (“SSNs”) primarily of Puerto Rican residents. Residents of Puerto Rico are issued SSNs, but they are not required to file federal income tax returns or pay federal income tax unless they earn income from sources outside of Puerto Rico.
Accordingly, Puerto Rican residents are vulnerable to stolen identity refund fraud because their SSNs are usually not already associated with a United States income tax return. Veras took advantage of this vulnerability by using the names and SSNs of Puerto Rico residents to fraudulently file false tax returns and receive refund checks in the United States mail. Veras would then take the tax refund checks to an individual in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for cashing.
As part of the investigation of Veras, IRS Criminal Investigation agents executed search warrants at Veras’ home and business in New Jersey. During the execution of the warrants, agents seized evidence of personal identifying information of over 500 individuals, most of whom were Puerto Rican residents.
“The defendant stole not only individuals’ identities but also hard-working taxpayers’ funds,” said U.S. Attorney Krueger. “This lengthy sentence should send a clear message that identity theft and tax fraud will be prosecuted aggressively. We commend IRS Criminal Investigation’s excellent work in building this case.”
IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Edward Ng said, “Individuals who commit identity theft of this magnitude and with this degree of dishonesty and deceit, deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. IRS Criminal Investigation, along with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office, remain vigilant in identifying, investigating and prosecuting those individuals who seek to willfully defraud the United States Treasury and blatantly disregard the victims of their schemes.”
This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Keith Alexander.
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