Camden County, NJ, Woman Sentenced For Role in Stolen ID Tax Refund Scheme
A Camden County woman has been sentenced to 159 months, or just over 13 years, in prison for her role in a scheme to obtain money through fraudulently obtained federal tax refund checks.
Last December, 36-year-old Awilda Henriquez of Clementon was convicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States government and steal United States mail, 13 counts of theft of government money, and 13 counts of aggravated identity theft following a 10-day trial.
U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger's office says an investigation revealed that for the 2013 tax year, more than 3,300 SIRF (Stolen Identity Refund Fraud) tax returns were filed using names and Social Security numbers of residents of Puerto Rico and the refunds were directed to be mailed to Pennsauken.
Henriquez and her conspirators recruited mail carriers from the U.S. Postal Service as part of the scheme to steal the tax refund checks from the mail. The mail carriers were paid for every U.S Treasury check that was stolen. Henriquez and her conspirators recruited and paid “check couriers” to cash the tax refund checks in a variety of ways, including at check cashing businesses in New Jersey, where Henriquez paid the tellers to also participate in the scheme.
The check couriers presented fake IDs at the check cashing businesses that matched the names on the tax refund checks in order to cash the checks, which the tellers cashed because they were paid by Henriquez to do so.
In total, the scheme caused over $565,000 in losses to the U.S. Treasury.
In addition to the prison term, Henriquez musty serve three years of supervised release and she was ordered to pay restitution in that entire amount.