A 10-count indictment was filed charging six people with various offenses related to a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service of at least $1.7 million in fraudulently obtained tax returns, often filed in the names of recently deceased taxpayers, federal law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.
Between April 15, 2009 to at least August 2011, Muaad Salem, Fahim Sulieman, Hanan Widi, Najeh Widdi, Hazem Woodi and Daxesj Patel and other unknown co-conspirators defrauded the United States by filing false and fraudulent tax returns, many in the names of recently deceased taxpayers, and directing refunds to controlled locations in the state of Florida, according to the indictment.
The United States Treasury checks generated by the false and fraudulent returns would then be sent by the U.S. Mail to co-conspirators in Ohio who would sell and distribute the checks for negotiation at various businesses and banking institutions, according to the indictment.
"The theft of anyone's identity is a serious offense, but stealing the identities of the recently departed to defraud all the other taxpayers is particularly egregious," said Steven M. Dettelbach, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
"Identity theft that leads to tax fraud threatens both individual U.S. citizens and the U.S. government," said John A. DiCicco, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Tax Division. "The Justice Department and the IRS will continue to cooperate in investigating and prosecuting these crimes to the fullest extent of the law. In our technology-driven society, this simply must be a top priority."
Charged with conspiracies to defraud the United States and to commit mail fraud, violations of Title 18 Sections 286 and 371, are :
Muaad Salem, age 33, of Akron, Ohio