Julio C. Concepcion, age 50, his two sons, and two others
What they did
Stolen identity refund fraud and mortgage fraud conspiracy using the identities of Puerto Rico residents, among others.
How they did it
From around October 2009 through May 2013, Julio C. Concepcion, his sons Angel L. Concepcion-Vasquez and Julio Concepcion-Vasquez, Jose Zapata and Romy Quezada, used the social security numbers and other personal identification information of people living in Puerto Rico to create false W-2s, file false tax returns, and collect bogus tax refunds. Puerto Rican social security numbers are a prime target for identity theft and tax refund fraud because its residents are not required to file tax returns or pay U.S. income tax unless they work for a U.S. company or for the federal government.
Concepcion and his co-conspirators deposited more than 350 fraudulently-obtained tax refund checks totaling an estimated $2.5 million into bank accounts held by 10 shell companies that they controlled. Between $75,000 and $725,000 was deposited into each company account. Funds were also transferred to their families and friends, who were provided with fake IDs, including social security cards and driver’s licenses, so that they could open accounts to deposit the fraudulently-obtained checks. Some of the fake checks were mailed to a New York City address which had at various times served as a homeless shelter and youth hostel. Other checks were mailed to a housing development in Fort Myers, Florida.
From January 2008 through March 2010, Concepcion and his co-conspirators also ran a mortgage fraud scam. They enabled a number of people to commit mortgage fraud by helping them purchase homes and obtain mortgages through false documents and misrepresentations. The Federal Housing Administration (which insured some of the mortgages) and other parties (that approved the mortgages) lost over $2.5 million as a result of the scheme.
Concepcion was caught following a detailed investigation, which uncovered: (1) many cases of two or more W-2 forms having been filed in a single year for the same individual, with workplaces and home addresses hundreds or thousands of miles apart; (2) multiple treasury checks issued to the same address or neighborhood, to names that did not match those of the building’s or area’s residents; (3) multiple checks deposited into numerous bank accounts, all of which were opened by companies owned by the same person; and (4) surveillance cameras showing Concepcion and his accomplices depositing multiple tax refund checks totaling thousands of dollars, and withdrawing the funds within a short time frame.
Note that Concepcion had no prior criminal record and promptly admitted to his guilt following his arrest. He issued a public apology prior to sentencing, stating “I apologize to the United States and to all of my family.”
- Theft of government funds – 18 U.S. Code 641
- Conspiracy to steal government funds and conspiracy to commit wire fraud – 18 U.S. Code 371
On June 25, 2015, the conspirators were sentenced as follows:
- Concepcion was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment and 3 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $5,643,695 in restitution.
- Concepcion’s sons Angel and Julio were each sentenced to 16 months in prison.
- Co-conspirator Jose Zapata was sentenced to three years’ probation.
- Romy Quezada was sentenced to two years’ probation.
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