Man admits role in scam to claim dead people’s tax refunds
ALBANY A second man has now admitted to his role in a scheme to cash fraudulently obtained tax refund checks of dead people.
The scheme spanned three countries and netted the conspirators more than $42,000, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in Albany.
Joseph E. Carbonara III, age and address unavailable, pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. He admitted to working with at least four other people to cash the checks. He then sent 95 percent of the proceeds on to two people in Montreal.
In all, Carbonara received 16 fraudulent tax refund checks made out to 15 deceased individuals. He then instructed a local man to cash multiple checks at banks in Schenectady, got the money, and forwarded much of it to others, according to court papers.
Carbonara is to be sentenced in May to as many as 10 years in prison. As part of the deal, he waived his right to appeal a sentence of less than 66 months.
According to papers filed in U.S. District Court, Carbonara received 16 refund checks mailed from Guyana at his Ballston Spa office in September 2011.
In November 2011, Carbonara drove the local co-conspirator to banks in Schenectady to open bank accounts in anticipation of cashing the checks. He also admitted to forging endorsements on the checks and giving them to the local co-conspirator.
The dates of the forged endorsements and the check amounts contained in Carbonara’s plea agreement coincide with dates and amounts contained in the plea agreement arranged in September for Michael Scouten of Schenectady. Scouten admitted in federal court to opening the accounts and depositing the checks. He then waited for the checks to clear, withdrew the money and handed most of it over to Carbonara.
Scouten is to be sentenced in March.
Carbonara paid Scouten $100 for each check he deposited and withdrew.
Specifically detailed in the Carbonara and Scouten filings were seven cashed checks and an attempt to cash an eighth, all in December 2011 and January 2012.
Those checks totalled more than $31,000. The scheme was discovered before Scouten could withdraw the eighth check.
The court papers do not indicate whether Carbonara was able to cash the other eight checks he received. The 16 checks had a total face value of more than $42,000.