Chicken

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Blank notepad with tax form and calculator on white table. Top view. Space for text.

Fraudsters have little care as to how their actions impact others.  Fraudulent schemes are created with the knowledge that someone will be hurt and harmed at many levels. The harm intended by Ariel Jimenez on the victims of his scheme may be the cruelest of all.

Beginning in 2007, Jimenez founded an income tax preparation business with the intent to file fraudulent income tax returns using stolen identities as dependents, allowing the individual taxpayer to take advantage of tax credits they would not normally be eligible for, thus inflating the refund paid.  Jimenez personally received $1000 in cash for every identity sold.  In some years, he sold more than a thousand identities, resulting in personal profits of more than $1 million per year.

What makes Jimenez the most deplorable of frauds is that he used the identities of thousands of minors stolen by a New York City Human Resources Administration fraud investigator.  A fraudster buying stolen identities from a fraud investigator!  HRA is a government department dedicated to fighting poverty and income disparity by providing New Yorkers in need with essential benefits like food or rental assistance.

Using the identity of someone else is a blatant disregard for the victim.  Jimenez’s use of these stolen identities from lower income populations harmed not only the victims but the actual caretakers of the children who were fraudulently claimed as dependents.  In many cases, the people actually taking care of these children had much needed tax refunds delayed and were required to prove their actual connection to their own dependent children.  While making it even harder for the lower income victims, Jimenez enjoyed a life of luxury with multiple properties, cars and vacations.

Maybe Jimenez could live with his choices because he didn’t even refer to his victims as people or dependents.  Jimenez callously referred to these stolen identities as “pollitos,” meaning “little chickens.”  We will see who the chicken is now, as Jimenez starts his 12 year prison sentence.  Jimenez was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $44,769,906.

Great job by the IRS-Criminal Investigation Office in catching this despicable fraudster.

 

Today’s fraud of the Day is based on an article “Tax fraud ring leader jailed for selling children’s stolen identities” published by Bleeping Computer on September 13, 2022

The owner of a fraudulent tax preparation business, Ariel Jimenez, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for selling the stolen identities of thousands of children on welfare and helping “customers” to falsely claim tax credits, causing tens of millions of dollars in tax loss.

His “customers” used the stolen identity info (names, dates of birth, and social security numbers) to add the children fraudulently as dependents on their tax returns so they would get a refund when they filed their taxes.

Jimenez founded the business behind this tax fraud scheme and identity theft conspiracy in 2007 in Bronx, New York.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.