In an IRS tax refund scheme, an Illinois man enters a guilty plea to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.

2022-07-28 19:17:53

A man from the Chicago region admitted Tuesday to filing bogus tax returns along with mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to court records, Wilmer Alexander Garcia Meza falsely obtained Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) in the names of others by providing the IRS with their names, dates of birth, and identification documents such foreign passports. An ITIN is a tax processing number given by the IRS to people who do not have a Social Security number and are not qualified to apply for one. Garcia filed tax forms in the names of these stolen identities from 2013 to 2017 using the ITINs, claiming thousands of dollars in phoney refunds. Garcia later cashed these IRS refund cheques using identification cards bearing the same names. In sum, Garcia resulted in a $222,000 tax loss.

Garcia will get a mandated minimum term of two years in jail for aggravated identity theft and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for mail fraud when he is sentenced on August 17. After taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other legal considerations, a federal district court judge will decide on any sentence.

The declaration was made by Tax Division Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department.

The situation is being investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Thomas Flynn and Jacob Green, both trial attorneys with the Tax Division, are bringing the case. Michael Landman, a former trial lawyer, also contributed significantly to the case.

Vivianne Pinchas