District of Massachusetts Federal Courthouse - Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, MA - Foreign National Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Property, Identity Theft, Money Laundering
A citizen of the Dominican Republic and former resident of New York pleaded guilty yesterday to theft of government property, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, fraudulent use of a social security number, and failure to appear as ordered, all in connection with his involvement in a stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Departmentís Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Lelling for the District of Massachusetts.
According to court documents, in 2012, Hector Antonio Cruz-Mercedes, attempted to negotiate ten U.S. Treasury income tax refund checks totaling $75,808 generated from false tax returns filed in the names of stolen identities of Puerto Rican residents. Cruz-Mercedes also conspired to lauder the proceeds of the scheme by texting bank account deposit information to others involved in the scheme. Cruz-Mercedes was indicted in February 2014 and arrested in the Dominican Republic in January 2017, and later extradited to the United States.
Cruz-Mercedesís sentencing is scheduled for Jan 8, 2019. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten years in prison for the theft of government property, a maximum of twenty years in prison for the money laundering conviction, a two year mandatory minimum prison term on the aggravated identity theft charge, five years in prison for the fraudulent use of a social security number, and five years for the failure to appear as ordered. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Lelling thanked special agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Homeland Security Investigation, and the United States Secret Service in Boston, who conducted the investigation, and Senior Litigation Counsel Corey J. Smith of the Department of Justice, Tax Division, who prosecuted this case.
18:641 - CONVERSION OF PROPERTY
18:1956(a)(3)(B) - MONEY LAUNDERING
18:1956(h) - CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT MONEY LAUNDERING
18:1028A - AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT
42:408(a)(7)(B) - FRAUDULENT USE OF A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
18:3146 - FAILURE TO APPEAR
Outcome: 09/13/2018 97 Clerk's Notes for Rule 11 Hearing held before Judge Douglas P. Woodlock: Interpreter sworn. No plea agreement submitted. Defendant Hector Antonio Cruz-Mercedes placed under oath. Court addresses the Motion to Enter Conditional Plea of Guilty 96 and GRANTS the motion based upon representations made in open Court. Colloquy conducted by the Court and the gov't summarizes the facts of case and maximum penalties. Guilty pleas entered on Counts One through 22 of the Indictment. Court accepts pleas as knowing and voluntary and is supported by substantial evidence. Sentencing set for 1/8/2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 1 before Judge Douglas P. Woodlock. Defendant remains in the custody of the USMS. (Attorneys present: AUSA Smith, Palmer)Court Reporter Name and Contact or digital recording information: Brenda Hancock at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interpreter name: Gabriel Hadad, Language: Spanish. (Beatty, Barbara) (Entered: 09/13/2018)
09/13/2018 98 Judge Douglas P. Woodlock: PROCEDURAL ORDER RE SENTENCING HEARING - Sentencing as to Hector Antonio Cruz-Mercedes is SCHEDULED for 1/8/2019 at 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 1 before Judge Douglas P. Woodlock. (Beatty, Barbara) (Entered: 09/13/2018)
09/13/2018 101 Judge Douglas P. Woodlock: ORDER finding as moot 61 Government's Motion to Exclude Time from the Speedy Trial Act, in light of the pendancy of the motions filed and plea entered this day as to Hector Antonio Cruz-Mercedes (1) (Beatty, Barbara) (Entered: 09/13/2018)