Buckeye shell company used for tax fraud

Espiridion Adrian Lugo, 40, of Pittsburgh, Pa., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake on Jan. 14, 2013, to 54 months of prison and was ordered to pay $128,388 in restitution. Lugo had pled guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft on Oct. 10, 2012.

Between July 2008 and May 2009, Lugo engaged in a scheme to obtain monies from the United States through the submission of fraudulent tax returns. Lugo submitted nearly three dozen Federal tax returns to the United States in the names of deceased persons from California. For each of these tax returns, Lugo falsified the deceased individuals’ wages, address, income tax withholdings, dependents, tax credits, and other deductions, in order to maximize the tax refund.

To conceal his activity from law enforcement, Lugo created a shell company called Uncle Sam’s Tax Service in Buckeye, and obtained bank accounts under that business name.

“A 54 month prison sentence reflects the egregiousness of this crime. Mr. Lugo went to great lengths to perpetrate his scheme which included stealing the identities of deceased taxpayers. IRS Criminal Investigation, both nationwide and here in Arizona, has made investigating identify theft cases our top priority,” stated Gabriel Grchan, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS-CI.

In total, Lugo falsely claimed over $279,000 in refund payments and gained access to approximately $128,388 of the refunds.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the United States Internal Revenue Service.

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