LAS VEGAS – A Mexican citizen—who entered the U.S. illegally—made his initial appearance yesterday for fraudulently soliciting thousands of dollars from victims in exchange for filing false tax returns. The defendant falsely claimed that he was an IRS officer who could obtain large amounts of money from the IRS, if the victims paid him to apply to a fictitious IRS program.
Francisco Ivan Velazquez (52) is charged by superseding indictment with three counts of wire fraud, two counts of impersonation of officer or employee of the United States, and five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return. The superseding indictment was filed on August 30, 2022 and unsealed when the defendant made his initial appearance.
According to allegations contained in the superseding indictment, from March 2016 through March 2018, Velazquez told the victims that he was an IRS employee and was able to secure large monetary refunds for them from the IRS. He falsely claimed that such funds were available from a purported IRS program which allowed people who had previously lost a home to foreclosure to recoup money by applying to the IRS and filing certain documents. Velazquez advised victims that in exchange for a fee he would submit an application for them to recover the funds. Velazquez would then prepare and file false tax returns and other documents with the IRS claiming that the victim had federal tax withholdings in excess of $100,000, and fraudulently claiming that the victim qualified for an income tax refund in excess of $100,000.
If convicted, the statutory maximum penalty is 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud, and three years for each count of filing a false tax return and for each count of impersonating an officer or employee of the United States.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division; U.S. Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada; Special Agent in Charge Albert Childress of the IRS Criminal Investigations; and J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration made the announcement.
This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
Tax Division Trial Attorney Thomas W. Flynn and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric C. Schmale are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.