Bergen County man will spend two years in prison for fake tax returns

A Bergen County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to two years and two days in prison for his role in a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns in victims’ names in order to obtain tax refunds to which he was not entitled.

Emmanuel A. Barrientos-Fermin, 39, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of access device fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Judge Cecchi imposed the sentence today via videoconference.

According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Barrientos and others conspired to utilize stolen personal identifying information (PII) to submit fraudulent tax returns in victims’ names, in order to obtain tax refunds without the victims’ knowledge or consent from January 2020, through February 2020.

A conspirator would obtain falsified Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, birth certificates and W-2s bearing the victims’ stolen PII and provide them to Barrientos-Fermin and other, who would use them to file tax returns at various tax preparation company branches posing as the victims.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cecchi sentenced Barrientos-Fermin three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $17,373 in restitution.

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