ICE: “Operation Easy Check nets 39 arrests for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft”

May 29, 2013

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 28, 2013 released the following:

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – As part of a criminal investigation into an alleged conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Puerto Rico Police Department and Puerto Rico’s Department of Treasury, arrested 39 individuals in nine Puerto Rican municipalities Friday during an operation dubbed Easy Check.

“These arrests are a reflection of the success that comes when federal, state and local law enforcement agencies work together to target criminal organizations and individuals in Puerto Rico,” said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “At HSI, we follow the money trail to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most complicated financial schemes and seize criminal assets. We will continue to aggressively investigate fraudulent financial schemes that put in jeopardy the integrity of our financial system and are often a gateway to further criminal activity.”

According to the indictment, those arrested devised a scheme to defraud Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Banco Santander de Puerto Rico, First Bank, Scotiabank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Doral Bank, all financial institutions whose deposits were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Since 2010, the organization headed by an individual named Kelvin Garcia-Oquendo engaged in bank fraud causing losses to several financial institutions of $580,089. The organization intended for losses at those institutions to exceed $1.2 million.

Individuals, operating as part of the organization, performed different roles in furtherance of the conspiracy. They were leaders, organizers, recruiters and facilitators who would either open bank accounts or lend existing bank accounts for the deposit of false and fraudulent checks. Some individuals would use ATM cards to purchase MoneyGram and U.S. Postal Service money orders with the proceeds of the bank fraud scheme. Others would go to different post offices to cash the money orders.

Throughout the course of the conspiracy, Garcia-Oquendo, Luis Luzunariz-Cruz and Ramon Lopez-Garcia acted as leaders for the criminal organization. The leaders would create fraudulent checks and have their co-conspirators deposit them. Then, they would determine how much money would be withdrawn from the bank accounts in which the false checks had been deposited. The leaders also played roles such as recruiting individuals and purchasing and cashing money orders.
Those arrested are:

  • Kelvin Garcia-Oquendo
  • Ramon L. Lopez-Garcia
  • Alejandro Rodriguez-Arce
  • Georgie Garcia-Oquendo
  • Joel Bezares-Cruz
  • Oscar Diaz-Maldonado
  • David Mestre-Cuadrado
  • Ernesto J. Bravo-Rivera
  • Jonathan Sierra-Coto
  • Angel L. Crespo
  • Carlos Delgado-Gomez
  • Alvin Rivera-Martinez
  • Ruperto Rijos Perez
  • Marie Grillasca-Battistini
  • Edwin Murillo-Rivera
  • Raul Martes-Colon
  • Maylee Garcia-Oquendo
  • Beatriz Nieves-Garcia
  • Yinairy Mediana-Castro
  • Sonia Rivera-Velazquez
  • Idalia Santana-Alamo
  • Gabriel Ramos-Rios
  • Jose G. Sanchez-Diaz
  • Hector Barbosa-Vellon
  • Jorge M. Agosto
  • Misha Rodriguez-Lazu
  • Hector e. Rivera-Ortiz
  • Felix Delgado-Velez
  • Brenda I. Ortiz-Echevarria
  • Wilfredo Moran-Castro
  • Ahmed D. Reyes-Vega
  • William Agosto-Diaz
  • Melitza Naveira-Sanabria
  • Maria del Carmen Garcia-Diaz
  • Alfonso Capestany
  • Kenny Quinones-Vazquez
  • Luis Ramos-Pacheco
  • Edgardo Castro-Santana
  • Ramon Matos-Santiago

Garcia-Oquendo, Luzunaris-Cruz, Sanchez-Diaz, Garcia-Oquendo, Marte-Colon, Lopez-Garcia and Delgado-Gómez face eight counts of aggravated identity theft. These defendants, while aiding and abetting each other, knowingly transferred and used the name, bank account number and information, as well as the ATM personal identification number belonging to another person. The defendants did so with the sole purpose of retrieving bank account funds that were proceeds of the bank fraud scheme.

Those arrested face up to 30 years in prison and fines not to exceed $1 million. Those defendants charged with aggravated identity theft face mandatory minimum sentences of two years in prison to run consecutive with the sentences imposed for the bank fraud charges.”

Federal Bank Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. 1344

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


“Twelve Los Angeles-Area Residents Accused of Attempting to Bilk Medicare of $22 Million Arrested as Part of Nationwide Crackdown”

May 15, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 14, 2013 released the following:

“LOS ANGELES— Twelve Los Angeles-area residents—including California’s second-largest biller for chiropractic services, a physician’s assistant, and owners of durable medical equipment (DME) and ambulance companies—were taken into custody today in relation to seven criminal cases that allege they cumulatively submitted more than $22 million in false billings to Medicare.

The charges filed in Los Angeles are part of a nationwide “takedown” by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in eight cities that led to charges against 89 individuals for their alleged participation in schemes to collectively submit about $223 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.

The dozen defendants taken into custody are among 13 people charged in Los Angeles in cases that allege health care fraud. The 12 either were arrested this morning or self-surrendered to authorities after learning that they had been charged in federal court. All those defendants are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon. A 13th defendant is a fugitive.

Dr. Houshang Pavehzadeh, of the Sylmar Physician Medical Group, allegedly billed Medicare more than $1.7 million for chiropractic treatments he never performed. During the scheme, which ran from 2005 through 2012, Dr. Pavehzadeh, 40, of Agoura Hills, became the second-largest Medicare biller in California for chiropractic services—even though he was not in the United States when some of the alleged services were performed. In addition to being charged with health care fraud, Pavehzadeh is charged with aggravated identity theft related to Medicare beneficiaries whose information he used to bill Medicare as a part of the scheme. When investigators tried to conduct an audit of Pavehzadeh’s claims, he falsely reported to the Los Angeles Police Department that he had been carjacked and that patient files requested by the auditors had been stolen from his car. Pavehzadeh surrendered this morning, and he is scheduled to be arraigned with other Los Angeles-area defendants this afternoon in the Roybal Federal Building.

Nine defendants affiliated with DME companies were also charged in five separate indictments.

Olufunke Fadojutimi, 41, of Carson, a registered nurse; Ayodeji Temitayo Fatunmbi, 41, formerly of Carson and now believed to be residing in Nigeria; and Maritza Velazquez, 40, of Las Vegas, were charged with health care fraud. The scheme allegedly revolved around Lutemi Medical Supplies, a DME company Fadojutimi owned and where Fatunmbi and Velazquez worked. According to the indictment in this case, Lutemi billed Medicare more than $8.3 million in claims, primarily for medically unnecessary power wheelchairs. Fadojutimi and Fatunmbi allegedly laundered Medicare funds in order to purchase fraudulent prescriptions for those power wheelchairs and pay illegal kickbacks to recruit Medicare beneficiaries. Fadojutimi was arrested this morning in Los Angeles, while Velazquez was arrested in Las Vegas. Fatunmbi is currently a fugitive being sought by federal authorities.

Susanna Artsruni, 45, of North Hollywood, and Erasmus Kotey, 76, of Montebello, a licensed physician’s assistant, allegedly worked together to commit health care fraud out of a medical clinic on Vermont Avenue where they both worked. Kotey allegedly prescribed medically unnecessary DME, including power wheelchairs, for Medicare beneficiaries. Many of those power wheelchair prescriptions were then used by Artsruni’s DME company, Midvalley Medical Supply, to support fraudulent claims to Medicare. In only four months, the clinic and Midvalley billed Medicare more than $525,000 for these fraudulent claims. Artsruni has previously been convicted of health care fraud and was on pre-trial supervision at the time she allegedly laundered some of the proceeds of this fraud. Artsruni was arrested this morning, while Kotey self-surrendered.

Three other DME cases were also charged, alleging fraudulent Medicare billing for medically unnecessary power wheelchairs that were sometimes never even delivered. In one case, Akinola Afolabi, 53, of Long Beach, the owner of Emmanuel Medical Supply, allegedly submitted more than $2.6 million in false and fraudulent billing to Medicare. In another case, Queen Anieze-Smith, 52, of Encino, and Abdul King-Garba, 47, of Westwood, the owners and operators of ITC Medical Supply, allegedly submitted more than $1.8 million in false and fraudulent billing to Medicare. In the third case, Clement Etim Aghedo, 53, of Fontana, the owner of Ace Medical Supply Company, allegedly submitted more than $1.8 in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. Afolabi, Anieze-Smith, and King-Garba were all arrested this morning, while Aghedo self-surrendered.

In the seventh case brought as part of today’s takedown, three defendants affiliated with Gardena-based ProMed Medical Transportation, an ambulance company, were charged with submitting more than $5.9 million in false claims to Medicare between 2008 and 2011. ProMed’s owner, Yaroslav Proshak, 45, of Valley Village; general manager Sharetta Wallace, 35, of Inglewood; and office manager and biller Sergey Mumjian, 40, of West Hollywood, submitted claims for medically unnecessary transportation services and then created fake documentation purporting to support those claims. Proshak, Wallace, and Mumjian were arrested this morning.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.

The Los Angeles cases announced today are being investigated by a Medicare Fraud Strike Force team, which is composed of agents and investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; IRS-Criminal Investigation; and Medicaid Fraud Control Units, including the California Department of Justice. The cases are being prosecuted by attorneys from the United States Attorney’s Office and the Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The charge of health care fraud carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Money laundering carries a potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor Arrested in Alleged Embezzlement Scheme

August 10, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 9, 2012 released the following:

“TALLAHASSEE—Today James Ryan Lanier, 33, was arrested in San Diego, California, on fraud, money laundering, and identity theft charges relating to the embezzlement of more than $800,000 in funds from Merrill Lynch clients.

The 65-count indictment alleges that between 2008 and 2010, while working as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, Lanier transmitted fraudulent letters of authorization bearing forged client signatures to Merrill Lynch client associates who were responsible for processing wire transfers of client funds. The letters contained false and misleading statements designed to induce the client associates to wire transfer funds from client investment accounts to bank accounts held and controlled by Lanier. According to the indictment, Lanier purposely sought assistance from client associates who were unfamiliar with Lanier’s clients. In directing the transfers of these funds, Lanier falsely claimed that he had obtained voice approval from Merrill Lynch clients on a recorded telephone line. As alleged in the indictment, Lanier used the embezzled client funds to make loan payments and to purchase vehicles and a condominium in Albany, Georgia, as well as an interest in a cellular telecommunications business.

If convicted, Lanier faces maximum sentences of 30 years in prison on each count of wire and mail fraud and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for money laundering. If convicted of aggravated identity theft, Lanier faces a separate mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence.

Lanier will be formally arraigned at an initial appearance currently set for August 16, 2012, at 1:30 p.m., before United States Magistrate Judge Charles A. Stampelos in Tallahassee.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Coody.

An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1341

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Ex-NFL player pleads guilty to wire fraud in FBI sting

August 8, 2012

Sun Sentinel on August 7, 2012 released the following:

“By Paula McMahon

A former NFL first-round draft pick who was arrested in an FBI fraud sting earlier this year has pleaded guilty to his role in the crime, court records show.

A second former NFL player arrested in the same sting is scheduled for a change of plea hearing next week in federal court in Miami, according to court records.

Former Oakland Raiders running back Michael Antwon Bennett pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Fort Lauderdale to one count of wire fraud.

He was caught in an operation by the FBI, which set up an undercover financial services store in North Miami between February and April. An undercover agent worked behind the counter and the store was equipped with audio and video surveillance equipment.

Bennett, who turns 34 next week, admitted that he had sent an email to the store fraudulently claiming that he had $9 million in the bank so he could obtain a $200,000 loan, court records show.

Bennett went to the store on April 18 and signed a loan agreement to borrow $200,000 and repay $280,000 after three months. When agents checked the bank account, they found that Bennett had opened an account there about a month earlier but it had a zero balance and there had never been any money in the account.

When Bennett returned to the store and picked up a $150,000 cashier’s check on April 30, he was arrested. FBI agents said he admitted that he altered the bank statement to give the false impression that he had millions of dollars in his account.

The maximum penalty for the offense is 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 but prosecutors have agreed to recommend a punishment on the lower end of the sentencing guidelines, which are still being calculated, when he is sentenced in October.

Meanwhile another NFL player, William Joseph, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on Aug. 14 in Miami. The terms of the proposed plea agreement will not be made public until the court hearing.

Joseph, 32, of Miramar, was indicted in May on five federal charges including aggravated identity theft, possession of false identification documents, theft of government money and forgery of U.S. Treasury checks.

Federal authorities said Joseph cashed a $10,088 income tax refund check that was not his and that he did not have permission to cash.

Joseph played for the New York Giants between 2003 and 2007, then spent three years with the Raiders.

Former Syracuse player Louis Gachelin, 31, of Miramar, pleaded guilty earlier this year to theft of government money and aggravated identity theft in the same investigation.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Philadelphia Man Indicted on Alleged Fraud and Identity Theft Charges

May 4, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 3, 2012 released the following:

“Darrel Jason Davis, 53, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was charged today by indictment with conspiracy, bank fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 141 years’ imprisonment and a $5,250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of investigation and the United States Secret Service, with the assistance of the Willistown Township Police Department, the Warwick Township Police Department, the Amity Township Police Department, the Lower Makefield Township Police Department, the Newtown Police Department, Springfield Township Police Department, Montgomery Township Police Department, Middletown Township Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney K.T. Newton.

An indictment or information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI arrest three former football players on allegations of ID-theft and tax-related fraud charges

May 1, 2012

The Miami Herald on May 1, 2012 released the following:

“Feds bust three former football players on ID-theft and tax-related fraud charges

BY JAY WEAVER

Two ex-National Football League players and a former Miami high school star have been arrested by the FBI on federal charges in connection with an alleged scheme to steal people’s identities and file false tax returns in others’ names to collect thousands of dollars in refunds, according to authorities.

The two ex-NFL players charged with defrauding the federal government and ID theft are: William Joseph, a University of Miami defensive tackle drafted in the first round by the New York Giants in 2003, and Michael Bennett, a University of Wisconsin running back also drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2001.

The third defendant, Louis Gachelin, is the half-brother of Denver Broncos star Elvis Dumervil. Gachelin was a standout at Miami Jackson High and Syracuse University as a defensive lineman and signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots in 2004. But he never made the final roster. Gachelin played in 2005 for NFL Europe’s Frankfurt Galaxy.

Joseph and Gachelin grew up in Miami; Bennett was born in Milwaukee.

All three were questioned after their arrests Monday by FBI agents at the bureau’s North Miami Beach regional office. They were then transferred to the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami for court appearances Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Dube, according to the clerk’s office. Details of the alleged scheme are expected to be disclosed in a criminal complaint to be released later Tuesday.

FBI spokesman Mike Leverock declined to comment.

As part of a related investigation, the FBI also arrested about a half-dozen other defendants Monday.

Authorities say the latest tax-related fraud case, while unique because of the ex-NFL defendants, is yet another indication of escalating identity-theft crimes in South Florida.

In April, a Coral Springs woman pleaded guilty to stealing the identities of U.S. Marines and others in a tax-refund scheme designed to trick the Internal Revenue Service into sending her tens of thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Dorothy Boulin, 29, pleaded guilty in Miami federal court to one count each of fraud and aggravated identity theft. She faces up to 22 years in prison, but as part of her plea agreement Boulin agreed to work in an “undercover role” for the FBI that could significantly reduce her prison term.

For her scam, Boulin used an electronic IRS number — normally issued to legitimate tax preparers — to file false returns in the names of at least 14 people, including several U.S. Marines serving in Afghanistan, according to court records. The bogus returns sought more than $53,000 in refunds.

Boulin’s plea agreement cited a person identified only as “C.J.” as the supplier of the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of Marines victimized in her scam.

Crooks like Boulin have graduated from everyday credit-card fraud to stealing people’s identities such as names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers in order to rob taxpayers of refunds before they file their returns with the Internal Revenue Service, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami.

Authorities say tax-return rackets are particularly pernicious because they harm two victims: the federal government as well as legitimate taxpayers whose identities and refunds have been stolen.

Here’s the root of the problem: Scammers have exploited a hole in the IRS electronic filing system, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The federal watchdog agency found that the IRS does not actually match tax returns to the W-2 income forms that employers file until months after the filing season ends on April 15. Employers file them at the end of February or early March, but the agency does not match them up with employees’ incomes reported on 1040 forms until June.

That’s way too late to catch identity thieves who file false returns in others’ names early in the year. What’s more, the IRS offers to download the refunds onto prepaid debit cards for speed and convenience.

Because of the relative ease, everyday criminals are moving into identity-theft rackets, using computers, the Internet and online tax services to fleece the IRS and taxpayers. The GAO reports that the number of identity theft-related fraud incidents on tax returns reached 248,000 in 2010, about five times more than in 2008.

In the past two years, the IRS has “redoubled” efforts to fight tax fraud by identity theft, according to Steven T. Miller, the IRS’s deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, who testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in March.

Miller told the panel that last year the IRS launched new software filters to flag fraudulent returns, and new procedures for handling suspect returns.

Recent federal legislation may help combat the crime.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, who presided over the March hearing, has sponsored a bill that would make it a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to use someone else’s Social Security or taxpayer identification numbers to file a fraudulent return.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Modesto Developer Arrested in an Alleged Mortgage Fraud Scheme

March 19, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 16, 2012 released the following:

“FRESNO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the arrest today of Aruna Kumari Chopra, 63, of Modesto. A federal grand jury returned an indictment against her on March 15, 2012, charging her with two counts of mail fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. The indictment was unsealed following her arrest.

According to the indictment, in 2009, Chopra purchased property at 4754 Dale Road in Modesto. She sought to finance the development of the property by trying to convince the city of Modesto to put into place a Communities Funding District that would issue bonds for infrastructure improvements. She allegedly concealed from the city of Modesto that there were pre-existing liens on the property. She also allegedly provided the City of Modesto with fictitious contracts of potential sales of a fully developed property to support a higher appraisal of the property. The indictment alleges that Chopra attempted to defraud other lenders, including the persons who sold her the property, by filing documents with the Stanislaus County Recorder’s Office that contained forged signatures. She is charged with aggravated identity theft for two instances when she allegedly forged the signature and used the seal of a notary public on a publicly filed document.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office; and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, working with the San Joaquin Valley Mortgage Fraud Task Force. The U.S. Attorney and the FBI created the San Joaquin Valley Mortgage Fraud Task Force in 2009 to further the prosecution of mortgage fraud cases arising out of the southern half of the Central Valley. Assistant United States Attorney Mark J. McKeon is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Chopra faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of mail fraud, and she faces a mandatory penalty of two years in prison on each count of aggravated identity theft, which must run consecutive to any other sentence. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mortgage fraud is a priority area for the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit StopFraud.gov.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.