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August 22, 2018

Seven Individuals Indicted in Treasury Check Theft Ring

On June 18, 2018, in the Southern District of New York, seven individuals were indicted for their roles in a scheme involving the theft of U.S. Treasury checks, among other things. Lenin Guzman-Hidalgo, Ana Vianely Molina, Winston Ramirez, and four other defendants were charged with conspiracy to steal Government funds, theft of Government funds, and aggravated identity theft. Ramirez and the four others were also charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.

According to the court documents, from about May 2012 up to September 2017, Guzman-Hidalgo, Molina, Ramirez, and the others knowingly and willfully conspired to steal Government funds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and converted them for their own use. The defendants wrongfully obtained U.S. Treasury checks in the names of victims and sold, deposited, or cashed the checks without the victims' authorization.

Guzman-Hidalgo, Molina, Ramirez, and the other defendants knowingly used, aided, and abetted in the use of names, signatures, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, and driver's license numbers of other individuals, without lawful authority, in connection with the offenses.

In furtherance of the scheme, Ramirez and four other defendants, some of whom are Ramirez's siblings, cashed and deposited stolen checks into bank accounts that were often opened by using stolen identities. The investigation identified deposits of approximately $3.5 million in stolen tax refund checks. A total of 58 third-party U.S. Treasury checks and one third-party cashier's check, in the approximate amount of $157,529, were deposited into five bank accounts associated with Ramirez

Ramirez and the other defendants charged with bank fraud could each face up to 30 years in prison. Each of the defendants could face a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years' imprisonment for the theft of Government funds, plus a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years' imprisonment if convicted of aggravated identity theft.

    Source:  The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: S.D.N.Y. Crim. Compl. filed May 16, 2018; S.D.N.Y. Indict. filed June 18, 2018.