Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
U.S. Attorney's Office

Tax Preparers Stole Kids’ Identities to Get Millions in Refunds for Clients: Prosecutors

Clients would allegedly pay the tax preparers between $1,000 and $1,500 for each child the preparers added to their tax returns as dependents, prosecutors said

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What to Know

  • Nine tax preparers allegedly used kids' stolen identities to help clients claim millions in tax refunds, prosecutors said
  • The tax preparers allegedly started filing the returns using the stolen identities in 2009 and continued up until this year
  • Eight of them have been arrested, and one is still at large, according to prosecutors

A group of tax preparers allegedly used the stolen identities of children to help their clients claim millions of dollars in tax refunds they weren’t actually owed, prosecutors said.

The nine tax preparers started started filing fraudulent tax returns using the stolen identities in 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said on Wednesday.

Clients would allegedly pay the tax preparers between $1,000 and $1,500 for each child the preparers added to their returns as dependents, according to prosecutors.

The clients “were not supporting, residing with, or related to the children they claimed as a dependent,” prosecutors said.

Between 2009 and the present, clients were able to claim more than $44 million from the returns the preparers fraudulently filed, according to prosecutors.

“As alleged, these defendants used their experience as tax preparers to skirt U.S. laws by using the stolen identities of children to help increase their clients’ tax returns,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.

“Now the defendants’ businesses are shut down — literally — and the defendants face significant time in prison for tax fraud,” he added.

Ariel Jiminez, 34, Ireline Nunez, 36, Ana Yessenia, 36, Evelin Jiminez, 32, Leyvi Castillo, 35, Cinthia Federo, 31, Guillermo Arias Moncion, 32, and Jose Castillo, 42 — all from New York City — have all been arrested and charged in the scheme, prosecutors said.

Marcos De Jesus Pantaleon, 28, has been charged but is still at large, according to prosecutors.

Jiminez, Levyi Castillo, Jose Castillo, Federo and Moncion also allegedly claimed fake dependents on their own tax returns, prosecutors said.

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