Local man pleads guilty to identify theft, agrees to be deported - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Local man pleads guilty to identify theft, agrees to be deported

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

A local man pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft in a scheme to file false federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in an effort to secure false claims for income tax refunds.  

Julio Lopez, 38, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to court documents, Lopez is originally from Guatemala and entered the U.S. illegally with the assistance of a human smuggler, known as a coyote. 

Once in the U.S., Lopez purchased a social security number and a purported Puerto Rican birth certificate.  Lopez subsequently used this identity to file false federal tax returns with the IRS and to open a bank account at Fifth Third Bank in order to receive the fraudulent income tax refunds.

Lopez filed at least two income tax returns for the 2010 and 2012 income tax years using this identity.  The 2010 income tax return was electronically filed with the IRS through H&R Block.  Lopez received a false income tax refund in the amount of $1,049.

The 2012 income tax return was electronically filed with the IRS through Taxhawk, Inc.  Lopez attempted to secure a false income tax refund in the amount of $8,843, of which Lopez actually received $1,859.

The IRS later confirmed that Lopez failed to report additional income received during the 2012 tax year; therefore, he actually owes a total of $2,354 in restitution relative to the 2012 income tax return.

The total intended tax loss in this case as a result of the false claims for refunds made by Lopez on the filed false income tax returns is $9,892.  For restitution purposes, Lopez owes the IRS a total of $3,403.

In addition, Lopez agreed to being removed from the U.S. following the completion of his sentence.

Lopez has been detained since his arrest on July 2, 2014 in Hamilton, Ohio and will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has been set for November 5, 2014.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica W. Knight and was investigated by special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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