On October 26, 2022, in the District of Nevada, Francisco Ivan Velazquez was arrested for wire fraud, impersonation of an officer or employee of the United States, and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. Velazquez devised a scheme to defraud victims whom he falsely told were eligible to apply for funds from the IRS.
According to the court documents, beginning no later than in or about March 2016, and continuing up to and including in or about March 2018, Velazquez appeared at meetings with victims and pretended to be an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee. Velazquez falsely claimed he was able to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars from the IRS for his victims. Velazquez told victims that funds were available from an IRS program that allowed people who previously lost a home to foreclosure to recoup money by applying to and filing certain documents with the IRS. Velazquez told victims to pay him thousands of dollars, and he would apply, on their behalf, to recover their funds.
For some victims, Velazquez prepared and filed documents with the IRS to include income tax returns on Forms 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return and Forms 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. On these forms, he falsely claimed victims had Federal income tax withholdings over $100,000, and fraudulently claimed that this entitled them to refunds in excess of $100,000.
If convicted, Velazquez could receive up to 20 years’ imprisonment for each count of wire fraud and three years for each count of filing a false tax return and for impersonating an officer or employee of the United States. The court could also order Velazquez to pay a fine of no more than $250,000.
Source: The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: D. Nev., Arrest Warrant, filed Oct. 26, 2022; and D. Nev., Superseding Indict., filed Aug. 30, 2022.