With less than a week to go, many are looking forward to opening of the 2015 baseball season. And only ten days after that event begins the deadline for filing your tax return reaches its deadline. Spring always brings about the beginning of one and cutoff date of the other season.
And just as the first pitch is being thrown in all major baseball stadiums across the country, cases of tax fraud and identity theft will be highlighted in the headlines.
Many of us use tax preparers to fill out and submit our returns with a belief that these professionals are doing so to our benefit, more qualified to take the information we give them and bring us back the highest monetary return or lowest tax liability possible.
In Broward County, Julio Lugo was the proprietor of multiple agencies of this type, including #1 Tax Specialist LLC, the Number One Tax Specialist LLC, and Number Two Tax Specialist Inc., all based in Miramar. He also had control over Light House Refund of Miami from which he obtained an EFIN (Electronic Filing Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service which allowed him to electronically file customer’s income tax returns, supposedly on their behalf.
Lugo and his associate Jamar James who registered Light House Refund both faced charges relating to improperly filing returns on their customer’s behalf for their own personal gain. Lugo was also listed as the registrant of Facerick Entertainment LLC, Chairman/CEO of Top Line Music Group, LLC and the Managing Member of Auto by Vision, LLC.
But for all his business interests, Lugo was apprehended by federal law enforcement for a scheme that found that he was using the EFIN acquired by Light House Refund to file close to fifty false tax returns using stolen identities. According to the Indictment he was paid several hundreds of thousands of dollars for the fraudulent tax refunds provided by the IRS during the timeframe of Oct. 2010 through Sept. 2012.
In a deal with the government, Lugo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud in relation to aggravated identity theft. He accepted a sentence of close to six years in a federal prison and more than a quarter million dollars in restitution. Upon his release, Lugo will complete his sentence with three years of probation.
His codefendant Jamar James received a sentence of two years of probation for his role in the scheme. His probationary sentence was for accepting a guilty plea for one count of making a false statement to a federal agency.
The press release for the case was announced by Wifredo A. Ferrer, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, along with Kelly R. Jackson, the Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI).
George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge for the FBI’s Miami Field Office was also named in the press release.
A conviction for any federal crime can result in serious consequences as explained in the article above. Lengthy prison terms and costly fines and/or restitution can be assessed when a plea deal is negotiated and accepted. If you are charged with any of the crimes listed in this article or if any other allegations by federal law enforcement become apparent it is essential to immediately hire an attorney who specializes in federal law. In the event that there is evidence of an investigation being launched it is in your best interest to have a skilled attorney whose practice concentrates on cases of federal legal matters by your side at the earliest point of a federal inquiry to confer with the prosecution with expectations of working out the best deal that can be reached based on the evidence at hand.
My criminal defense firm is dedicated to fighting for clients’ who face charges brought forward by the federal government. As a former Assistant United States Attorney working for the prosecution prior to founding my criminal defense firm in the private sector, I have a clear advantage of obtaining the best desired outcome refuting any federal charges alleged.
Before a plea bargain is negotiated and accepted by a client it is important to understand that the presumption of innocence is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove otherwise. If a client is resolute and believes they are wrongly accused I will always discuss an offer presented by the government, but based on the evidence will also consider with my client if going to trial and fighting the charges is a better option than accepting the arrangement proposed by the prosecution.
Call me at any of the phone numbers listed above for a prompt response. I will fight for your rights guaranteed under the Constitution and devote my abilities to assure the best result, challenging any federal criminal charges alleged.
To view all of my qualifications and understand what should be done next if you or someone you care about is charged with identity theft, or facing any other federal criminal charges, click here.
*Over fifteen years of outstanding private practice federal criminal defense in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and the Palm Beaches as well as all neighboring counties in the surrounding areas of South Florida.
**All Articles and Web pages that have been used to research this blog post, in full or in part can be found on the Internet at the links listed below: