Jose Torres, 47, of Bronx, N.Y., recently pled guilty in New Jersey to conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft, in connection with one of the largest and longest-running stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) schemes ever identified.
Torres and others obtained the personal identifiers, such as birthdates and Social Security numbers, of Puerto Rican citizens, then used that information to file fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds. They then bribed mail carriers to intercept the refund checks and deliver them to co-conspirators. They also purchased "mail routes," lists of addresses covered by a mail carrier, and filed tax returns seeking refunds to be sent to those addresses.
The scheme involved the filing of more than 8,000 fraudulent tax returns seeking over $65 million in refunds, which resulted in losses to the United States Treasury of more than $12 million. Torres admitted that the refunds in which he was personally involved totaled $9.9 million.
Torres previously pled guilty in New York to related charges. He will be sentenced in New York on the charges from both New York and New Jersey on a date to be determined.