IRS halts fraudulent tax refund scheme involving stolen identities and fake income tax returns

May 07, 2012   

On May 1, 2012, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the South District of Florida reported that a IRS and FBI undercover operation targeting identity theft tax refund fraud had resulted in the filing of criminal charges against a group of South Florida residents. Charged in the complaint are Regina Carroll, 37, of Miami, Lanny Fried, 34, of Miami Lakes, former NFL player Louis Gachelin, 31, of Miramar, former NFL player William Joseph, 32, of Miramar, Guy Maxineau, 35, of Miami, Castra Pierre-Louis, 34, of Miami, and Gunie Similien, 32, of Miami. Each defendant allegedly negotiated between 11 and 35 fraudulently obtained tax refund checks, ranging in total value from $70,000 to $120,000.

The Carroll complaint is available here.

The Fried complaint is available here.

The Gachelin complaint is available here.

The Joseph complaint is available here.

The Maxineau complaint is available here.

The Pierre-Louis and Similien complaint is available here.

According to the complaints, from February 2012 to April 2012, the FBI operated a financial services store (the store) in North Miami to accept fraudulently obtained tax refund checks from individuals looking to cash those checks. Undercover FBI agents worked at the store and charged large fees, ranging from 35% to 45 % of the face value of the checks, for their check cashing services. According to the complaints, individuals would come to the store to cash the fraudulently obtained tax refund checks using false identification documents in the name of taxpayer victim whose refund had been stolen. Often, the defendants would forge the victims signature on the back of the check while inside the store. Many of the victim taxpayers whose names appear on the refund checks have already filed identity theft affidavits with the IRS.

During the three month undercover operation, the defendants negotiated with undercover agents at the store to cash approximately $500, 0000 in fraudulently obtained tax refund checks. The conversations and transactions between the customers and undercover agents at the store were audio and video recorded by the FBI. The FBI paid the thieves from official FBI funds and none of the tax refund checks were actually cashed.

The full press release is available here.

The story has been reported in the local South Florida media such as the Miami Herald, available here.

The attorneys at Fuerst Ittleman have extensive experience litigating cases involving income tax evasion and fraud at both the trial and the appellate levels.  You can contact an attorney for a confidential meeting by calling us at 305.350.5690 or by emailing us at contact@fidjlaw.com.