One of three men from Bronx, NY, who admitted their roles in defrauding the U.S. Department of the Treasury of more than $300,000 in income tax return
checks was sentenced today to 18 months in prison, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.
Pedro Rafael Castillo Roman, 27, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In addition to Roman, Julio Alexander Lara Trinidad, 25, and Luis Figaro, 22, also pleaded guilty before Judge Wigenton to Informations charging them with the same offense. Citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico typically do not file tax returns with the IRS as long as all of their income is derived from sources in Puerto Rico. Other members of the conspiracy filed phony individual income tax returns with the IRS using the identity information of other individuals, including citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, that sought federal tax refunds. In May 2011, Roman, Lara Trinidad and Figaro and conspired with others to retrieve income tax return checks that the other conspirators caused the U.S. Department of the Treasury to issue and mail to various addresses in Middlesex County, NJ.
Law enforcement recovered $310,647 as a result of the arrest of the three defendants. Lara Trinidad and Figaro are awaiting sentencing.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton sentenced Roman to three years of supervised release and fined him $1,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn S. Zuniga; and inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett; and police officers from the Metuchen, NJ, Police Department, under the direction of Chief Rob Rentenberg, for the investigation leading to the guilty pleas.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys José R. Almonte and Barbara Llanes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Marcia L. Silva Esq., South River, NJ.