A former New Jersey postal worker has been busted in an alleged scheme that netted him tens of thousands of dollars in federal tax refund payments that he allegedly fraudulently obtained through creating false identities from stolen information, federal prosecutors say.
Luis Martin, 24, of Trenton, was arrested by agents from IRS, USPS and Secret Service Friday morning, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
According to a criminal complaint, Martin, who worked in Monmouth County, used stolen Social Security numbers and other personal information from unwitting victims, many in Puerto Rico, to fill out Form 1040 tax returns.
He filled the forms out using made-up information about wages and taxes in order to ensure the returns would generate refunds, prosecutors said.
He then directed the refund checks to a place he could access, and then deposited them into bank accounts, according to prosecutors.
The scheme was carried out over a period months, from June 2014 to February 2015, and Martin used his position as a postal carrier to obtain the personal information, prosecutors said.
He was caught during an investigation in which he tried to persuade an undercover agent to join him in the scheme, prosecutors said. The agent provided Martin with three different decoy checks totaling over $16,000, for which Martin paid the agent about $1,000.
In total, Martin filed for over $75,000 in tax refund payments.
The scheme is common enough that it's referred to by authorities as "Stolen Identity Refund Fraud," or SIRF.
Attorney information for Martin wasn't immediately available. He was scheduled to be arriagned in federal court in Newark Friday afternoon. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.
Earlier in the week, a New York City postal carrier was arrested for allegedly throwing away 2,000 pieces of mail.