Queens Man Arrested For $10 Million Identity Theft Scheme

A man from Queens, New York, is facing federal wire fraud and identity theft charges after allegedly creating false federal tax returns.

Five individuals, including one of Queens, New York, are facing federal wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges. The multi-count indictment was issued in April 2014.

According to a federal grand jury indictment, the five defendants conspired to commit wire fraud by creating false federal tax returns, using the names of stolen identities. Moreover, authorities allege that the defendants then opened bank accounts using additional stolen personal information in an effort to collect the false tax refunds.

Officials claim that the defendants secured the stolen identity information from the Internet. Patrick Fallon, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, notes that the use of the Internet for felonious activity, such as identity theft, is one of the toughest challenges faced by authorities. The indictment alleges that the defendants attempted to recover roughly $21 million in counterfeit tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Ultimately, the IRS paid close to $10 million in false refunds.

New York laws allow for a maximum of two decades behind bars for the Queens defendant. Moreover, all suspects are subject to a maximum penalty of $250,000 or twice of the victims' total financial loss. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the imposed sentence would consider the circumstances of the offense and the criminal history of the suspects.

Identity theft

Identity theft is a very egregious crime. Those convicted generally face ample time in prison. Furthermore, an offender will be labeled as a felon for the duration of his or her life. This is one of the most damaging consequences of the offense. As a felon, one may experience difficulty with the following:

  • Securing employment
  • Buying a home
  • Qualifying for educational financial aid
  • Voting
  • Owning a gun

These are just some of the challenges experienced by many identity theft offenders.

Today, authorities are setting aside extra time and energy toward the investigation and prosecution of identity theft. Moreover, prosecutors are advocating for harsher penalties. Recently, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickto stressed that officials are making strides when it comes to uncovering identity fraud and protecting victims from those who attempt to steal personal information. As a result, it is helpful to have legal assistance when confronting such serious allegations. To learn more about what you are up against, speak to a Queens criminal defense attorney who is familiar with both state and federal laws. A lawyer can help you protect your future.

Keywords: Queens, New York, identity theft, Internet, indictment, wire fraud, felon, penalties