A Kaufman County man plead guilty in federal court to stealing the identities of dead people and using their information to file fake tax returns to swindle $883,427 in refunds.
Jason Cano of Kemp plead guilty to one count of filing false, fictitious and fraudulent claims against the United States and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Documents in the case showed Cano prepared and filed at least 497 fake income tax returns using the identities of deceased people.
According to U.S. District Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña, Cano used fabricated W-2 forms and electronically filed most returns, then received the refunds as deposits to a re-loadable prepaid debit card. The documents collected by investigators show Cano used the cards for his own benefits or provided them to friends and associates.
"According to the complaint filed in the case, the investigation into Cano’s activities began when IRS CI received information from a fraud compliance officer, at a company that issues stored value cards and prepaid debit cards, that an individual received three federal income tax refunds on one prepaid card," a press release from the U.S. Northern District of Texas stated.
Cano faces at least two years in prison for the identity theft charge, a maximum of five additional years on the fraudulent claims count, and possible fines of up to $250,000 for each count. Additionally, restitution of the fraudulently acquired funds could be ordered when sentencing begins May 10.