A Smyrna man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly stealing thousands of identities and claiming more than $6 million in fraudulent tax refunds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta announced Wednesday.
Mauricio Warner, 37, was arraigned Tuesday on 16 counts of wire fraud, 16 counts of aggravated identity theft, 16 counts of filing false claims, and two counts of money laundering.
He allegedly filed more than 5,000 false tax returns using victims’ names and social security numbers in a scheme that lasted from about January 2011 until April 2012, prosecutors said.
“Identity thieves are becoming more devious, creative, and conniving,” Veronica Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, said in the news release. “They steal our identities, steal government money, and prey upon innocent citizens.”
The victims were told they could get “stimulus payment” or “free government money” by giving out their identifying information, according to information presented in court. Warner is accused of using toll-free telephone numbers to solicit some of the information.
The government seized seven bank accounts that were believed to be involved in the alleged scam and contained a total of more than $4 million dollars. It wants all money from the alleged scheme to be forfeited.
If Warner is convicted, there is a maximum sentence of 20 years for each wire fraud count, five years for each false claim count, and 10 years for each money laundering count, plus at least one two-year consecutive sentence for aggravated identity theft, authorities said. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000.
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