Former Boca Raton Resident Pleads Guilty to Multi-Million Dollar Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
A former Boca Raton resident, who purported to operate a tax preparation business in Pompano Beach, pled guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a multi-million dollar stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS-CI), made the announcement.
Wilson Lasset, 48, formerly of Boca Raton, Florida, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A. Lasset faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge, followed by a mandatory sentence of two years in prison on the aggravated identity theft charge. Lasset is scheduled to be sentenced on July 19, 2018, by United States District Court Judge Kathleen M. Williams.
According to stipulated facts filed in court, Lasset applied to the IRS for identification numbers, enabling him and the business he incorporated, Triangle International Training Center, to prepare and electronically file tax returns on behalf of other people. The business operated out of two addresses in Pompano Beach, Florida. In 2012, using these identification numbers, the defendant filed approximately 1,606 tax returns with the IRS. These tax returns included at least 25 returns filed using the names and social security numbers of individuals living with cerebral palsy who did not need to file tax returns and who did not authorize Lasset to file tax returns on their behalf. The unauthorized filings also included returns using the identities of approximately 386 incarcerated individuals. These returns, as well as the filings using the identities of the individuals with cerebral palsy, included falsely claimed earned income tax credits, based on false claims of earning income as “household help” employees, and falsely claimed education credits designed to reimburse college and other higher education expenses.
In total, Lasset’s identification numbers were used to claim more than $2.7 million in fraudulent tax refunds. The IRS paid approximately $788,611 in refunds based on these fraudulent tax returns. Approximately $51,000 was deducted directly from these refunds as preparer’s fees that were deposited into a bank account Lasset opened and controlled for Triangle International Training Center. Lasset used the money deposited into this account to fund his travel and other personal expenses.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI in connection with the investigation of this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared M. Strauss.