Residents of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina Indicted for Promoting Tax Fraud Scheme
Allegedly caused $40 million in false tax refund claims to be filed
A federal grand jury in Orlando, Florida, returned an indictment April 21, 2021, charging residents of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina with promoting a tax fraud scheme.
According to the indictment, from 2013 to 2017, Iran Backstrom of Milledgeville, Georgia; Mehef Bey of Charlotte, North Carolina; Yomarie Febres of Atlanta, Georgia; and Aaron Aqueron of Clermont, Florida, allegedly conspired together and with others to promote a tax fraud scheme to more than 200 individuals in 12 states. The indictment alleges that the defendants recruited clients by falsely representing that the clients’ mortgages and other debts entitled them to tax refunds. To execute the scheme, the defendants and their conspirators allegedly prepared and caused clients to file tax returns that falsely claimed large amounts of income taxes had been withheld from the clients and paid over to the IRS, entitling the clients to tax refunds. According to the indictment, the defendants typically charged each client fees ranging from approximately $10,000 to $15,000 and did not report on their own tax returns any income generated from the scheme.
The indictment further alleges that when the IRS discovered the fraud and attempted to recover the fraudulently obtained tax refunds, Aqueron encouraged clients to provide the IRS with false information and remove funds from their bank accounts in order to thwart the IRS’s collection efforts. As a result of the scheme, the defendants allegedly filed, and caused to be filed, with the IRS approximately $40 million in fraudulent claims for tax refunds.