Spreading the Wealth

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protects against the loss of deposits made into accounts including checking, savings, money market and certificates of deposit (CDs) up to $250,000 per depositor and per banking institution. (This program, instituted after The Great Depression, was designed to make sure customers felt safe when depositing their hard-earned money into banks and savings associations.) According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, one man confidently deposited more than $2.2 million across 11 bank accounts until he was busted for stealing tax refund checks from unsuspecting victims.

According to the story, the fraudster was initially approached by an unknown man who presented him with a criminally lucrative offer. He agreed to cash forged tax refund checks, deposit a certain portion of each refund check into multiple accounts, and then return leftover funds to his unnamed benefactor. (If an anonymous person offers you hundreds of thousands of dollars, run away!)

The fraudster was sentenced to five years and five months in prison on charges of aggravated identity theft and theft of government property. He also has to forfeit two properties in the Orlando area, $2,223,083 and the contents of three JP Morgan Chase accounts.

Although this fraudster thought he could remain anonymous by spreading the wealth out among multiple bank accounts, he was eventually unable to hide from federal law enforcement. It looks like this fraudster will be trading in all of his assets for a stint at the big house.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Orlando man gets 5 years for tax-refund, identity-theft scam, feds say,” written by Kevin P. Connolly and Stephanie Allen and published by The Orlando Sentinel on Nov. 6, 2015.

An Orlando man who stole hundreds of federal tax-refund checks was sentenced this week to more than five years in prison.

Michael Carvalho’s bank accounts showed more than $2.2 million, but federal prosecutors say it wasn’t actually his.

The money came from refund checks belonging to unknown victims, whose signatures were forged, according to the U.S. State Attorney’s Office.

Carvalho would deposit the money into at least 11 personal and business bank accounts in an attempt to hide where the money actually came from, federal court documents state.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.