Two Crete residents are the focus of an IRS criminal investigation after officials say they were part of a fraudulent tax refund scheme.
United States Attorney Deborah Gilg says 42-year-old Jose Feliciano Alvarado-Montoya and 43-year-old Juana Ramirez were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection to the scheme, Wednesday.
According to the indictment, Alvarado-Montoya and Ramirez cashed tax refund checks and received payments from the United States knowing the tax refund checks were fraudulently obtained. In addition, both suspects were also charged with two counts of theft of public funds.
Gilg says the scheme started in August and continued until they were arrested on September 6th by IRS special agents.
Alvarado-Montoya and Ramirez are alleged to have obtained tax refund checks in the names individuals with North Carolina addresses. Officials say Alvarado-Montoya and Ramirez went to a store in Lincoln to cash the tax refund checks, providing copies of passports and identification numbers matching the names on the checks. Investigators say the suspects told cashiers the checks belonged to family members.
Between August 30th and September 1st, Alvarado-Montoya and Ramirez allegedly attempted to cash six treasury checks totaling $24,110.93.
“At the IRS, protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take extremely seriously. An integral part of the agency’s mission involves detecting and stopping fraudulent tax refund claims," said Tanya T. Brewer, IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge. "The object of these schemes is to defraud the taxpaying public and the government.”
If convicted, conspiracy to file false claims carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a possible fine or both; each count of theft of public funds carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a possible fine or both per count.