Leader of massive identity-theft ring pleads guilty – U

— The head of a massive crime ring that stole the identities of hundreds of victims, many of them elderly, in a bogus tax-refund scheme pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court.

The plea by Arthur Grigorian, 33, of Glendale is the 27th conviction in the case, called “Operation Trillion Troubles,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Indictments were issued in September 2013 following an investigation by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service. More than 58 people have been charged; 28 remain fugitives.

The operation included using foreign students in the U.S. on visas to carry out the scheme in San Diego and elsewhere.

Grigorian pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He admitted to stealing personal identity information to file false tax returns totaling nearly $1.5 million in the victims’ names.

Many of the victims were elderly and had not filed federal income tax returns in years, prosecutors said. The refunds were sent to postal addresses and/or bank accounts controlled by the defendants.

Grigorian faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He must make full restitution to the IRS.

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy praised the work by FBI and IRS agents.

“Our citizens’ identities are not commodities for criminals to trade and exploit for their own personal gain,” Duffy said in the statement.

Robert Howe, acting special agent in charge of the San Diego FBI office, said the agency will continue to work to protect American citizens from identity theft and to protect tax dollars from “waste, fraud and abuse.”

Erick Martinez, special agent in charge for IRS Criminal Investigation, said the guilty plea by Grigorian, “the leader of the crime ring,” shows the agency’s commitment to hold accountable individuals “who victimize others through identity theft and tax refund fraud.”

Article source: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/12/identity-theft-victims-elderly-internal-revenue/

Technorati Tags: ,

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply