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.