Thursday, February 19, 2015

James Nelson Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft and more than $1.0 Million Tax Fraud Scheme

Admits Working with Others to Seek More Than $1.1 Million in Fraudulent Refunds

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA .  James Nelson, 31, a Washington, D.C., man pleaded guilty to various crimes committed in a far-reaching identity theft and tax fraud scheme in which he and others filed fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking more than $1.1 million in refunds, according to an announcement  today by the Justice Department.

Nelson, is among approximately a dozen people who have pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to charges in one of the largest prosecutions to date involving the use of stolen identifying information.  The overall case involves the filing of at least 12,000 fraudulent federal income tax returns that sought refunds of at least $40 million.
The guilty plea was unsealed today where Nelson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims, aiding and abetting in the making of false claims for refund, and aiding and abetting in fraud and related activity involving identification information.  Under federal sentencing guidelines, Nelson faces an estimated range of 41 to 51 months in prison and a fine of up to $75,000 at his sentencing before the Honorable U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of the District of Columbia.  In addition, as part of his plea agreement, Nelson must pay $636,026 in restitution to the IRS.

According to the government’s evidence, Nelson was among participants in a massive and sophisticated identity theft and false tax refund scheme involving an extensive network of more than 130 people, many of whom were receiving public assistance.  
The refunds were sought since 2006, often in the names of people whose identities had been stolen, including the elderly, people in assisted living facilities, drug addicts and incarcerated prisoners.  In other cases, the refunds were sent to people who were willing participants in the scheme.  The refunds listed more than 400 “taxpayer” addresses
From December 2007 through January 2012, according to the government’s evidence, Nelson used his residential addresses, then in the District of Columbia, for the receipt of some of the fraudulently obtained tax refunds.  He also recruited others to receive fraudulent refunds at their addresses.  For example, Nelson paid one woman about $150 per check for each refund check delivered to her residential address in the District of Columbia.
Approximately 360 fraudulent federal income tax returns were filed with the IRS listing the addresses that were under Nelson’s control.  The returns sought refunds of approximately $908,500.  As a result, the IRS sent out 238 checks, totaling about $524,795, and 184 of those checks, totaling $432,804, were ultimately cashed. 
Nelson also recruited others to negotiate at least 86 other refund checks, totaling approximately $203,222, causing a total intended loss to the U.S. Treasury of more than $1.1 million.

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