Local man suspected in tax fraud scheme

As City News Service reports below, a Diamond Bar man was one of two men suspected of using dead people’s information to file false tax returns and collect refund checks:

DIAMOND BAR- Two Southland men, including one from Diamond Bar, were charged with multiple tax fraud counts for allegedly using dead people’s identities and Social Security numbers to file fake income tax returns — with claims totaling more than $2 million dollars, prosecutors announced today.
Ather Ali of Diamond Bar and Haroon Amin of Upland were indicted by a federal grand jury in Riverside Wednesday on 50 counts of making false claims against the United
States and other charges, according to IRS officials.
Between 2002 and 2003, Ali and Amin allegedly filed roughly 250 income tax returns showing refunds due to individuals federal investigators later determined to be deceased, the federal indictment alleges.
The IRS rejected a number of the false claims, which totaled more than $2 million, but some refund checks were distributed, according to IRS special agent Michael Moriarty.
He did not specify exactly how much the defendants allegedly swindled from the government.
The indictment indicates Ali and Amin, with unnamed co-conspirators, were able to prepare fictitious W-2 wage and tax statements using employer identification numbers that “Amin had obtained from an acquaintance who was a certified public accountant.”
Federal investigators said the defendants gleaned Social Security numbers and names of dead people from the Internet, applied the information to income tax returns and filed for refunds.
The defendants allegedly arranged to have the refund checks that were distributed sent to locations controlled by Amin and Ali, who allegedly opened mailbox accounts at commercial outlets using false forms of identification, according to the government.
Most of the checks were deposited in bank accounts in Armenia and Pakistan, the government said.
Amin is charged with 22 counts of making false claims against the United States, conspiracy and making and subscribing a false tax return in his own name.
Ali faces 25 counts of making false claims against the United States, as well as making and
subscribing a false tax return in his name and conspiracy.
“Refunds are issued to taxpayers who are entitled to them,” said Eileen Mayer, IRS chief of criminal investigations, in response to the indictment against the pair. “The IRS and Department of Justice will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns to claim refunds for which they are not entitled.”
The defendants each face more than 100 years in prison and fines totaling $750,000 if convicted on all charges, according to the IRS.