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Income Tax Refund Scam Brings 2-Year Prison Term

Crime: Costa Mesa man tried to collect $2.5 million from the U.S. by filing 1,100 phony returns.

September 24, 1997|JAMES S. GRANELLI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — A Costa Mesa man who designed an elaborate scam to file 1,100 bogus income tax returns in efforts to collect $2.5 million has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Farid Ghasemi, 34, also was ordered Monday to pay $44,385 to cover charges he put on other people's credit cards. U.S. District Judge Gary L. Taylor in Santa Ana ordered Ghasemi placed on supervised release for three years following his prison term.

Ghasemi, held without bail since his arrest April 15, had pleaded guilty to 10 counts of filing false tax claims and one of possessing unauthorized credit cards.

As a computer technician for a company that provided software to schools nationwide, Ghasemi stole students' names and Social Security numbers from small-town schools and created new identities to file bogus income tax returns.

He leased 81 post office boxes, postal authorities said, to receive the tax refunds, typically $2,000 for each filing.

In a search of Ghasemi's car, his home and his person, authorities found 93 uncashed IRS refund checks, 13 California driver's licenses with his photograph and false names on them, and more than 100 unauthorized credit cards and automated teller machine cards.

The scheme was caught early, prosecutors said, and the government didn't lose any money.

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