Former resident gets prison time for tax fraud

DOWNEY – A former Downey resident was sentenced Monday to 21 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme which stole the identities of Puerto Rican residents to claim false tax refunds. Benjamin Demetrio, who also uses the name Antero Diaz-Diaz, 67, pleaded guilty in October to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. In addition to prison time, he was also ordered to pay restitution of $293,719 to the IRS.

According to a plea agreement, Demetrio and his son, Ulises Demetrio Rivera, rented private mailboxes in 2007 and 2008 using stolen identities of people in Puerto Rico. The IRS issued approximately $293,719 in tax refund checks to these mailboxes.

A search of Demetrio’s Downey home revealed documents listing the names, birth dates and social security numbers of people who were authorized recipients of mail on the mailboxes and had a false tax return filed using their name.

Demetrio’s son pleaded guilty to conspiracy and aggravated identity theft and is currently serving a 36-month prison sentence.

 

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Published: Jan. 29, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 42