A 69-year-old man was sentenced to more than 4 years in federal prison after allegedly stealing identification information from individuals he met at Veterans Affairs rehabilitation facilities, and using that information to obtain credit cards and fraudulent tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.
In addition to the prison term of 51 months, a U.S. district judge ordered that Daniel Henry Lopez pay restitution in the amount of $84,741 and be placed under supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term, U.S. attorneys said.
On Oct. 10, 2013, Lopez pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
By pleading guilty, Lopez admitted that from January 2012 to April 2013 he devised a scheme to steal means of identification including names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers from unsuspecting victims, authorities said.
Lopez further admitted that he used that information to create fraudulent income tax returns which, in turn, officials said generated $78,000 for Lopez in false tax refunds.
Lopez also allegedly created fraudulent documents that he used to open various bank accounts. As a result of his scheme, U.S. attorneys said Lopez caused over $6,000 in losses to financial institutions due to overdrawn checks and other charges.
IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Steve McCollough noted that the IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents are aggressively pursuing those who steal others' identities in order to file false returns.
"The IRS is taking additional steps this tax season to further prevent, detect and resolve identity theft cases as soon as possible," said McCollough.