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The Investigation Highlights are updated monthly.

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April 27, 2022

Kentucky Woman Pleads Guilty to CARES Act Fraud [1]

On February 2, 2022, in the Western District of Kentucky, Mandy Bauer pled guilty to nine counts of fraud related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The FFCRA established that eligible employers that retain their employees are allowed tax credits against applicable employment taxes. The CARES Act established several temporary programs to provide emergency financial assistance to address the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the court documents, on or about and between April 2, 2020 through July 1, 2020, Bauer filed nine fraudulent applications for various forms of Federal funding through the FFCRA and CARES Act programs. Specifically, in May 2020, Bauer faxed an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19, to the IRS, claiming that her business, Family Personal Sales, had 10 employees and $37,000 in quarterly wages. The business did not have any employees or wage expenses. Additionally, Bauer submitted fraudulent applications for CARES Act funding through the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. In these applications, Bauer filed fraudulent IRS Form 941s, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, claiming to have employees with wages; however, there were no Forms 941 on file with the IRS. In total, Bauer attempted to defraud the Federal Government of more than $230,000.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 11, 2022, at which Bauer could face a maximum imprisonment of 180 years, a total fine of $2,250,000, and three years of supervised release.
  • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: W.D. Ky., Plea Agr., filed February 2, 2022; W.D. Ky., Information, filed January 18, 2022; W.D. Ky., DOJ Press Release, published February 4, 2022; and W.D. Ky., Order, filed February 2, 2022.


  • New York Taxpayer Threatens to Assault and Kill an IRS Employee [1]

    On February 11, 2022, in the Eastern District of New York, an arrest warrant was obtained for Jamel Jackson for threatening to assault and murder an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee during the performance of their official duties.

    According to the court documents, on or about September 2, 2021, Jackson entered the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center located in Brooklyn, New York to obtain assistance. The IRS employee assisted Jackson at a cubicle, which included a desk with a plexiglass divider between them. Jackson entered the workspace while using his cellphone. The employee asked Jackson for certain verification documents to aid with his tax issue, and informed him not to use his cellphone while in the cubicle. In response, Jackson slammed his backpack on the employee’s desk and shouted “I will snap your neck! I kill people! I’m on trial for killing people!” Jackson stood, placed his knee on the desk, and shook the plexiglass divider violently. Jackson threatened to remove the plexiglass to reach the employee. The employee activated a duress alarm. A security officer arrived and escorted Jackson out of the building.

    Approximately four months later, on or about January 10, 2022, Jackson returned to the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center for a scheduled appointment. Due to Jackson’s previous conduct with the IRS, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) agents were present at the location for safety reasons. Upon entering the building, Jackson stated to a security guard, “You stupid [expletive]. I’ve been to every maximum-security prison up north,” and “I will knock you the [expletive] out.”

    Subsequently, an IRS employee assisted Jackson and told him his stimulus check was sent to the wrong address. Jackson turned to a nearby TIGTA agent and stated “I’m gonna get back to prison mode.” The IRS employee told Jackson it could take six weeks before he received a stimulus check to his address. Jackson stood up, approached the TIGTA agent and shouted “I will literally do life in jail for my money! Do you understand that?” Jackson returned to the IRS employee and yelled “In six weeks…when I come back, I’m trying to find out where is my money. After that, I’m coming off my hip! You understand?!” Jackson gathered his documents and shouted “I will be back!” As he exited the building, he said to the security guard “Remember, you have to leave out this building.”

    If convicted, Jackson could receive up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
    • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available document: E.D. N.Y., Aff. and Compl., filed February 11, 2022.


    • California Woman Pleads Guilty to the Fraudulent Use of Inmates’ Personally Identifiable Information to Obtain Stimulus Checks [1]

      On March 4, 2022, in the Northern District of California, Sheila Denise Dunlap pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Dunlap devised a scheme to defraud the United States through the submission of fraudulent Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Economic Impact Payments (EIP) claims using personally identifiable information (PII) of inmates. The EIP, which were also known as “stimulus checks,” were issued to American households in the amount of up to $1,200 per eligible adult and $500 per qualifying child.

      According to the court documents, on or about March 2020 and continuing through July 2020, Dunlap conspired with her son, a condemned inmate serving a death sentence at San Quentin State Prison in California, to obtain and use fellow inmates’ PII to receive EIP. Dunlap’s son would send, via telephone and or text message, PII of fellow prisoners and other individuals who they suspected would qualify as non-filers eligible for EIP. Non-filers are individuals who were not required to file a 2018 or 2019 tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided a web-based tool, the EIP Portal, for non-filers to submit their personal and bank account information to file a simple tax return and receive their EIP.

      Around April 2020, Dunlap’s son coordinated with an unknown individual to e-mail Dunlap a spreadsheet that contained PII of 9,043 individuals. Between May 4, 2020 and June 18, 2020, via the EIP Portal, Dunlap electronically filed 121 EIP claims, totaling $145,200, using the names and Social Security Numbers of individuals whose PII she received from her son.

      Although Dunlap filed each claim under a different taxpayer name and Social Security Number, she listed the same bank account number on the claim. The bank account was a business account held by Dunlap, which she had sole signatory authority. Of the 121 fraudulent EIP claims filed by Dunlap, 39 were accepted by the IRS, of which five were electronically deposited into Dunlap’s bank account. These individuals did not consent to Dunlap’s use of their identification to file EIP claims.

      At sentencing, which is scheduled for June 24, 2022, Dunlap could receive more than 20 years’ imprisonment and pay a maximum fine of up to $500,000.
      • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: N.D. Cal., Plea Agr., filed March 4, 2022; N.D. Cal., Indict., filed May 13, 2021; and DOJ Press Release published March 4, 2022.


      • Georgia Man Threatens Injury to IRS Employees and Their Family [1]

        On March 8, 2022, in the Middle District of Georgia, Derrick Douglas pled guilty to threatening to injure an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee and their family. Douglas was indicted December 14, 2021.

        According to the court documents, on December 1, 2020, Douglas called the IRS to inquire about his 2019 tax refund that he had not received. The IRS contact representative who assisted Douglas learned he was under an audit for tax year 2019. During the telephone call, Douglas’ demeanor changed from calm to angry as he spewed profanities. Douglas frequently indicated he would take action, show up, and do something although he never gave specifics about how he would execute those threats. Douglas said he would get rid of his Social Security Number and, “I’d like to see if someone from the IRS shows up at my house. Something will happen to them and it’s not going to be pretty.”

        Special agents with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and local county sheriff deputies interviewed Douglas at his residence on December 8, 2020. Douglas admitted he made threatening statements and explained he was upset with the IRS for delaying his tax refund. He apologized and said he had no intentions of harming an IRS employee. TIGTA special agents informed Douglas that threatening statements to an IRS employee is a violation of Federal law.

        The following year, on November 15, 2021, Douglas left a threatening message for an IRS paralegal. Douglas immediately began screaming and using profanity. He stated, “If we lose everything else today, I will see you in your office sir. I will see you, I promise. This is Derrick Douglas. Because this does not make any sense cause the IRS still continue to hold my refund after I went through the appeals, I went through the examination, and I went through the tax court. Send me my [expletive] refund.” Later that day, TIGTA special agents interviewed Douglas, notified him it is a Federal crime to threaten IRS employees, and warned another threatening incident may result in Federal charges against him. During the interview, Douglas acknowledged his previous 2020 threats and advisement from TIGTA.

        Subsequently, on November 26, 2021, Douglas sent an email to the same IRS paralegal stating “I will die trying to put your family in an identical hardship as my family. Pass it on, send officers back to my home, and threatened [sic] my wife and kids again.”

        At sentencing, Douglas faces a maximum term of five years’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and could possibly receive an order to pay a fine not to exceed $250,000.
        • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: M.D. Ga., Plea Agr., filed March 8, 2022; and M.D. Ga., Indict., filed December 14, 2021.


        • March 22, 2022

          Former Internal Revenue Service Employee Sentenced for Attempted Wire Fraud and Making False Statements [1]

          On January 18, 2022, in the District of New Hampshire, former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Jane Smith was sentenced for attempted wire fraud and making false statements. Smith pled guilty on October 7, 2021.

          According to the court documents, around September 1993, Smith began receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA informed Smith that she was required to report any changes in her employment and income. Around January 2007 through March 2018, Smith worked for several employers, to include the IRS and two private companies. She concealed her employment from the SSA knowing her earnings would have reduced her SSDI benefits or made her ineligible to receive SSDI benefits.

          Between April 2011 and July 2017, the SSA learned of Smith’s employment and suspended her benefits several times. Each time, Smith took steps to cause the SSA to resume wiring her SSDI benefit payments that she was not entitled to receive. For example, in 2017, when SSA learned of Smith’s employment and suspended her benefits, she fabricated an identity theft claim to conceal her employment history. In February 2018, Smith filed a false police report with the New Hampshire Nashua Police Department claiming she was the victim of identity theft and that someone else used her name to work for her employers. She also made similar false statements to the IRS and SSA.

          In February 2021, Smith admitted to law enforcement that she lied about her work and falsely claimed to be the victim of identity theft because she did not want to lose her SSDI benefits. As a result of Smith’s false claims, SSA wired SSDI benefit payments from the U.S. Treasury in Kansas City, Missouri, to Smith’s credit union account in Methuen, Massachusetts. Smith obtained over $90,000 in fraudulent benefits.

          Smith received three years’ probation and she must complete 50 hours of community service within 12 months. She was ordered to pay $76,680.10 in restitution and a $200 assessment fee.
          • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: D.N.H., Indict., filed April 12, 2021; DOJ Press Release published April 12, 2021; Criminal Docket case number 1:21-cr-00060-LM-1 cited October 7, 2021; DOJ Press Release published October 8, 2021; and D.N.H., J., filed January 19, 2022.


          • Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Accessing IRS Systems and Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns [1]

            On January 26, 2022, in the Northern District of West Virginia, Keith Joseph pled guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Joseph devised a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and obtain money by means of false representations.

            According to the court documents, from in or around March 18, 2015, and continuing through March 7, 2017, Joseph unlawfully used other individuals’ personal identifying information to access the IRS eAthentication Online Taxpayer System. Joseph used names, dates of birth, and Social Security Numbers of others to obtain income tax transcripts and file Federal income tax returns that claimed refunds were owed. The total amount Joseph claimed from the fraudulent returns was at least $152,948. These returns were processed at an IRS facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

            As part of the plea agreement, Joseph agreed to pay $142,237 in restitution. He could receive over 20 years’ imprisonment and potentially pay a fine of up to $250,000.
            • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: N.D.W. Va., Plea Agr., filed January 26, 2022; N.D.W. Va., Indict., filed March 17, 2022; and DOJ Press Release published January 26, 2022.


            • Man Pleads Guilty for His Involvement in a Multi-Million Dollar PPP Loan Fraud Scheme [1]

              On January 4, 2022, in the Northern District of Georgia, Mark Mason pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. Mason, along with 21 other individuals residing across the United States, orchestrated a fraudulent scheme to obtain approximately $3,899,377 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The CARES Act was enacted in March 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP was a source of relief through the CARES Act that provided forgivable loans to small businesses for payroll, mortgage interest, rent/lease, and utilities. From April 2020 through August 2020, the conspirators allegedly submitted or assisted in the submission of PPP loan applications on behalf of 22 businesses.

              According to the court documents, on or about April 7, 2020, Mason submitted a fraudulent PPP loan application for his business. The PPP loan application listed the average monthly payroll and number of employees, and listed the purpose of the loan as payroll and lease/mortgage interest. Along with the PPP loan application, for each quarter of 2019, Mason submitted erroneous Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return. However, in 2019, Mason’s business neither made tax filings with nor paid unemployment tax to the IRS, nor withheld Federal income tax for any employee. Based on the fraudulent submissions, a financial institution paid Mason approximately $99,000 in PPP loan funds.

              Mason also completed and submitted to financial institutions, fraudulent PPP borrower application forms and fabricated IRS Forms 941 on behalf of others, including IRS Supervisory Individual Tax Advisory Specialist Melissa Myrick. For his work on the loan applications, Mason received a percentage of the funded loan amount as a “success fee” from each purported business owner.

              As part of the guilty plea Mason agreed to pay full restitution plus applicable interest, and a $200 special assessment fee. He will also forfeit, to the United States, any proceeds from and property involved in the commission of the offenses to include $121,366.93. At sentencing, Mason could receive more than 20 years’ imprisonment.
              • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: N.D. Ga., Plea Agr., filed January 4, 2022; DOJ Press Release published February 1, 2022; N.D. Ga., Crim. Information, filed October 18, 2021; and N.D. Ga., Indict., filed December 15, 2021.


              • Former Internal Revenue Service Employee Sentenced for a Fraudulent Tax Return Scheme [1]

                On January 31, 2022, in the Eastern District of California, former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Angela Milton was sentenced for aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent tax returns. Milton knowingly added materially false information to Federal income tax returns (FITRs) to increase the refund amount.

                According to the court documents, between 2007 and 2014, as an IRS Tax Examining Technician in Fresno, California, Milton reviewed and amended FITRs. Between 2010 and 2013, Milton prepared and filed numerous false and fraudulent FITRs for herself and others, and charged a preparation fee. She included false or inflated wage income, erroneous tax withholdings, false claims of dependents, and fabricated Schedule C (Form 1040) Profit or Loss From Business with false income and expenses.

                For some taxpayers, without their authorization, Milton filed FITRs and split the refund so a portion was delivered to the taxpayer and the remainder to a bank account or prepaid debit or credit card controlled by Milton. In other instances, Milton filed FITRs without the knowledge or consent of the taxpayer, and directed the entire refund to her bank account or prepaid debit or credit card. Milton defrauded the IRS of more than $170,000.

                Milton was sentenced to five years’ probation, and ordered to pay $101,475 in full restitution to the IRS and a special assessment of $100.
                • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: E.D. Cal., Plea Agr., filed May 27, 2021; E.D. Cal., Indict., filed April 12, 2018; and E.D. Cal., J., filed February 4, 2022.


                • February 28, 2022

                  Kentucky Man Pled Guilty to Making False Statements [1]

                  On December 7, 2021, in the Eastern District of Kentucky, Charles Marshall Stivers pled guilty to one count of making and using a false document, knowing the same to contain a materially false statement or entry. Stivers was indicted on March 18, 2021.

                  According to the court documents, Stivers was initially licensed to practice as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by the State of Kentucky in 1989. On October 23, 2015, the Kentucky State Board of Accountancy permanently revoked Stivers’ CPA license by an Agreed Order. The Agreed Order prohibited Stivers from ever holding himself as a CPA to the public in any capacity, including to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or any other tax authority.

                  On or about March 22, 2016, in Manchester, Kentucky, Stivers signed an IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, and indicated he was the Power of Attorney for a business. As part of his completion of this form, Stivers specified in writing that he was a licensed CPA. He also listed CPA license number 12597 that belonged to his son. Stivers submitted the signed form to an IRS revenue officer.

                  On three more occasions in 2018 and 2019, Stivers again completed IRS Form 2848 on behalf of clients in Knoxville, Tennessee. Each time he indicated he was a licensed CPA and utilized his son’s CPA license number. He finalized the forms by forging his son’s signature.

                  At sentencing, Stivers could receive no more than five years’ imprisonment, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of not more than $250,000.
                  • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: E.D. Ky., Plea Agr., filed December 7, 2021; and E.D. Ky., Indict., filed March 18, 2021.


                  • California Man Sentenced for His Role in Negotiating Stolen Treasury Checks [1]

                    On December 13, 2021, in the Central District of California, Vache Troy Barsamian was sentenced for his role in a conspiracy to negotiate stolen tax refund checks issued by the United States Department of the Treasury and the State of California. Barsamian previously pled guilty to one count of bank fraud on June 14, 2021.

                    According to the court documents, beginning on an unknown date and continuing through at least March 30, 2017, in Los Angeles County, California, and elsewhere, Barsamian executed a scheme to defraud Wells Fargo Bank. Barsamian obtained stolen United States Treasury and State of California tax refund checks and altered the payee line by adding his name. Barsamian and his coconspirators then deposited the altered checks into a Wells Fargo Bank checking account. In total, Barsamian and his coconspirators negotiated more than $21,000 in stolen United States Treasury and State of California tax refund checks.

                    Barsamian was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. Barsamian was ordered to pay restitution of $22,965.90 and a special assessment fee of $100.00.
                    • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: C.D. Cal., Indict., filed Dec. 13, 2019; C.D. Cal., Plea Agr., filed June 14, 2021; and C.D. Cal., J., filed December 15, 2021.


                    • Telemarketing Call Center Owner and Director Sentenced in Transnational Fraud Scheme [1]

                      On December 17, 2021, in the Eastern District of New York, Ajay Sharma, owner and director of an India-based telemarketing call center, was sentenced for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent scheme directed at thousands of United States citizens. Sharma previously pled guilty to the charge on November 30, 2020.

                      According to the court documents, between approximately January 2016 and January 2019, Sharma organized and led a telemarketing scheme through his company, APS Technology. Operating from India, Sharma’s telemarketing company targeted victims in the United States and falsely claimed to represent the Internal Revenue Service, and other Federal agencies. The victims were informed they owed a sum of money to the United States Government and they would be arrested if the debts were not promptly paid. After the victims wired payments to bank accounts opened for the purposes of the scheme, the funds were withdrawn and laundered through additional bank accounts. The scheme is estimated to have netted over $2 million from victims across the United States.

                      Sharma was sentenced to 78 months’ imprisonment and two years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay $3,266,714 in restitution, forfeit $1,005,421, and pay a special assessment fee of $100.
                      • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: E.D.N.Y., Sentencing, filed December 17, 2021; E.D.N.Y., Indict., filed January 17, 2019; E.D.N.Y., Plea, filed November 30, 2020; and E.D.N.Y., Press Release, published November 30, 2020.


                      • Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud [1]

                        On December 8, 2021, in the District of Maryland, Babatunde Ajibawo was sentenced for conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Ajibawo and his coconspirators executed a scheme to defraud financial institutions by means of materially false or fraudulent pretenses. Ajibawo was initially indicted on July 21, 2020, for bank fraud conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting. He pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud on July 9, 2021.

                        According to the court documents, beginning in or about February 2017 and continuing until on or about July 1, 2020, in the District of Maryland, District of Columbia, Eastern District of Virginia, Western District of Washington, and elsewhere, Ajibawo and coconspirators opened bank accounts in the names of other individuals and businesses to obtain money from financial institutions by fraud. To further the scheme, Ajibawo and coconspirators would obtain legitimate checks, alter the name of the payee on some checks, create fraudulent checks, and deposit checks, thereby causing fraudulent wire transfers into various bank accounts.

                        Ajibawo and coconspirators used the names of identity theft victims to obtain Employee Identification Numbers (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service’s Modernized Internet Employer Identification Number (MOD IEIN) system. The EINs were then used to register businesses and obtain State business certificates in business names identical or similar to the names of the payees listed on the checks. Then, they used the names of identity theft victims to open bank accounts in the names of payees listed on the checks. Ajibawo and coconspirators used phones, including messages through WhatsApp, to coordinate the shipping, receipt, and deposit of stolen checks, and the withdrawal of proceeds. Through text messages, they would exchange images of stolen checks, EIN documents, and stolen identity information. Ajibawo defrauded victims of approximately $606,598.08.

                        Ajibawo was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment and four years’ supervised release. He was ordered to pay $262,653.87 in restitution and a $100 assessment fee.
                        • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: D. Md., Plea Agr., filed July 9, 2021; D. Md., Indict., filed July 21, 2020; D. Md., Superseding Indict., filed March 4, 2021; and D. Md., J., filed December 9, 2021.


                        • Man Sentenced in Multimillion-Dollar International Robocalls Scheme Ordered to Pay Restitution to Victims [1]

                          On December 23, 2021, in the Eastern District of Virginia, Pradipsinh Dharmendrasinh Parmar, jointly with his coconspirators, was ordered to pay restitution to victims in the amount of $9,673,169.27. Parmar was previously sentenced for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft on September 20, 2021, after pleading guilty to the charges on February 22, 2021.

                          According to the court documents, beginning in or about May 2016, and continuing through October 2019, Parmar knowingly conspired to defraud victims of money both directly and through automated, previously recorded calls, commonly referred to as “robocalls.” These calls contained messages designed to create a sense of urgency with the call recipient, and included instructions the victim was to take. The messages typically told recipients that they had a serious legal problem, usually criminal in nature, and that if they did not act immediately in accordance with the demands of the callers, there would be drastic consequences, to include threats of arrest and/or significant financial penalties.

                          The conspiracy operated through foreign call centers located primarily in India and disproportionately victimized elderly Americans. The conspirators would falsely claim to be acting on behalf of a Federal Government agency, such as the Internal Revenue Service, regarding potential tax penalties. Victims were persuaded or coerced to send packages of cash, preloaded payment cards, and/or wire funds to pay tax bills. To conceal the international origin of the calls, the conspirators established multiple cells within the United States, which victims were directed to send cash payments.

                          According to a Department of Justice press release dated February 22, 2021, as part of his guilty plea, Parmar admitted that over a two-year period from March 2017 to April 2019, he traveled to 30 States and collected at least 4,358 wire transfers sent by victims via Western Union, MoneyGram, and Walmart with losses totaling at least $4,312,585. Parmar also received and attempted to receive at least 91 packages of bulk cash sent by victims from several States within the United States via FedEx, United Parcel Service, or the United States Postal Service totaling at least $1,593,591. Parmar transferred the majority of the money he collected to coconspirators by depositing the funds into bank accounts at various financial institutions or giving it directly to various informal money transfer services, known as Hawalas. For his participation in this conspiracy, Parmar retained a portion of the funds, approximately eight percent of each money transfer and two percent to seven percent of each cash shipment.

                          Parmar used counterfeit identification documents bearing his photograph alongside fictitious and stolen identities to receive money transfers. Parmar admitted that he received at least 549 counterfeit identification documents that he used to receive and collect victim cash shipments and money transfers.

                          In addition to $9,673,169.27 in restitution, Parmar received 14 years’ imprisonment, three years’ supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $200 assessment fee.
                          • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: E.D. Va., Plea Agr., filed February 22, 2021; E.D. Va., Stat. of Fact, filed February 22, 2021; Department of Justice, Press Release, published February 22, 2021; E.D. Va., Am. J., filed September 28, 2021; and E.D. Va., Restitution Order, filed December 23, 2021.


                          • January 25, 2022

                            New York Man Sentenced for Defrauding the United States [1]

                            On November 12, 2021, in the Eastern District of New York, Jose Andreu was sentenced for conspiracy to defraud the United States. Andreu and his coconspirators prepared and filed, for themselves and others, false Federal income tax returns through a tax preparation business. Andreu was initially charged in a six-count indictment on January 30, 2020.

                            According to the court documents, between May 2011 and August 2017, Andreu and his coconspirators submitted false Federal income tax returns through a tax preparation business using various Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms, to include Form 1099-OID (Original Issue Discount). The Form 1099-OID falsely reported that financial institutions, creditors, and other entities withheld Federal income tax on behalf of Andreu and his coconspirators. Based on these fictitious withholdings, Andreu prepared and filed false Federal income tax returns to claim tax refunds that Andreu and his coconspirators were not entitled to receive. The IRS sent Andreu notices that the information filed was frivolous. Despite receiving these notices, Andreu continued to file false Federal tax forms. In one instance, Andreu filed a fraudulent income tax return that claimed a refund of $135,399.

                            Andreu was sentenced to 90 days’ imprisonment, one year of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment fee.
                            • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: E.D.N.Y., Criminal Cause for Sentencing, filed November 12, 2021; and E.D.N.Y., Indict., January 30, 2020.


                            • New Jersey Man Sentenced for His Role in Scamming 87-Year-Old Woman [1]

                              On November 16, 2021, in the District of Arizona, Joseph Batts was sentenced for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in a fraudulent sweepstakes and lottery scheme. Batts was indicted on these charges on November 6, 2019, and he pled guilty on November 10, 2020.

                              According to the court documents, Batts voluntarily conspired with others to execute a scheme to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent representations. The primary purpose of the scheme was to obtain money from victims through a fraudulent sweepstakes or lottery scheme. As part of the conspiracy, the coconspirators would e-mail fraudulent letters purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Publishers Clearing House, falsely representing that the victims had won a prize and were required to pay taxes or other fees in order to obtain their winnings.

                              For example, an 87-year-old victim residing in Arizona received the fraudulent communications, which included a letter on IRS letterhead. The victim subsequently communicated with one or more of the coconspirators by phone to make arrangements to pay the fee. The victim was led to believe she had won $5 million and a brand-new Lincoln MKZ automobile. The victim was instructed to deposit money into various bank accounts and also to mail and/or wire the money. The victim withdrew all of the money, approximately $72,000, from her Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and provided it to the coconspirators. When she received a check from the coconspirators, she believed it was a portion of the prize winnings, but when the check was deposited it was deemed fraudulent and did not clear. The victim never received any legitimate money or prize winnings. As a result of the scheme, the victim lost a total of approximately $74,000.

                              Batts sentenced to 70 months’ imprisonment, with credit for time served, three years of supervised release, was ordered to pay $72,900 in restitution, and a $200 special assessment fee.
                              • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: D. Ariz., J., filed November 19, 2021; D. Ariz., Crim. Compl., filed October 5, 2018; and D. Ariz., 2nd Superseding Indict., filed November 6, 2019.


                              • IRS Employee Sentenced for Access Device Fraud [1]

                                On December 1, 2021, in the Eastern District of Virginia, Kwashie Senam Zilevu was sentenced for access device fraud. Zilevu was indicted on November 26, 2019, and charged via criminal complaint on October 2, 2019. On July 17, 2021, a jury convicted him on one count of access device fraud.

                                According to the court documents, Zilevu was employed as an Information Technology Specialist with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Zilevu owned several businesses, including MacroTele, LLC, which he claimed sold telephone calling cards that he created. Between January 2016 and March 2018, Zilevu knowingly, and without authorization, used the names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security Numbers of at least three victims to obtain fraudulent credit cards. Once Zilevu obtained the credit cards in the victims’ names, he used them to make several thousands of dollars of purchases at retail stores and other companies. An American Express (AmEx) application was submitted using a victim’s personally identifiable information (PII) and approximately $49,000 was charged to the AmEx card. Among the purchases were an airline ticket for travel from Washington, D.C., to Miami, Florida, and a hotel reservation for Zilevu.

                                Another credit card application was submitted to U.S. Bank and Trust using PII of a second victim. Bank statements revealed that a total of $10,273.39 in completed transactions and $2,651.62 in attempted transactions were made using this card, including an airline ticket from Dulles, Virginia, to Montego Bay, Jamaica, for Zilevu. Another credit card application was submitted to U.S. Bank and Trust using a third victim’s PII. A total of $9,641.69 in fraudulent charges were made using this card. A review of Zilevu’s IRS e-mail account revealed that Zilevu received an e-mail message from PayPal congratulating the third victim for setting up his or her account and instructing the victim to click a link in order to confirm the accuracy of his or her e-mail address. Zilevu received a subsequent e-mail message from PayPal to his IRS e-mail account advising the third victim that he or she was officially a PayPal member. When interviewed, each of the victims confirmed that the fraudulent credit cards had been taken out in their names, and that Zilevu did not have permission or authority to use their information to apply for the cards.

                                Zilevu was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment, followed by two months’ home confinement, and three years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay restitution totaling $49,771 and a $100 assessment fee.

                                This investigation was worked jointly by special agents from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
                                • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: E.D. Va., Sentencing, filed December 1, 2021; E.D. Va., Indict., filed November 26, 2019; and E.D. Va., Crim. Compl., filed October 2, 2019.


                                • Internal Revenue Service Employee Charged with Assault [1]

                                  On November 30, 2021, in the District of New Jersey, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent Daniel Garrido was charged by criminal complaint for simple assault of an officer or employee of the United States engaged in the performance of official duties. Garrido subjected a female IRS-CI special agent to unwanted and nonconsensual sexual contact during the course of their official duties.

                                  According to the court documents, on or about August 15, 2017, Garrido and the female special agent attended a continuing professional education conference at a university located in Glassboro, New Jersey. At or near the conclusion of the conference, IRS-CI supervisors, who managed the training, held a gathering at a restaurant for attendees. During the gathering, on three separate occasions, Garrido approached the special agent and repeatedly touched her body in various places, to include her breast and hips. He repeatedly thrust his body against hers and attempted to place his lips and mouth on her neck. Each time, the special agent repeatedly told Garrido to stop and he would walk away.

                                  When interviewed, an IRS-CI employee who was present during the gathering advised that he observed Garrido move his hands all over the special agent’s body. The witness observed the special agent repeatedly attempt to push Garrido’s hands off of her body, and saw Garrido walk away after she freed herself from him.

                                  If convicted, Garrido could receive a maximum of one-year imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
                                  • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available document: D.N.J., Crim. Compl., filed November 30, 2021.



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