TRENTON, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, woman was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for conspiring to obtain more than $1 million through fraudulently generated refund checks issued by the U.S. Treasury, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Marie Poitevien, 54, of Orange, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to an information charging her with conspiring to steal government funds. Judge Thompson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) is a common type of fraud committed against the United States government that involves the use of stolen identities to commit tax refund fraud. SIRF schemes generally share a number of hallmarks:
SIRF perpetrators obtain personal identifying information, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth, from unwitting individuals.
SIRF perpetrators complete Form 1040 tax returns using the fraudulently obtained information and falsifying wages earned, taxes withheld, and other data, always ensuring that the fraudulent tax return generates a refund.
They direct the U.S. Treasury Department to mail refund checks to locations that the perpetrators control or can access.
With the fraudulently obtained refund checks in hand, SIRF perpetrators generate cash proceeds by depositing the checks into bank accounts that they control.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From October 2009 through June 2013, Poitevien participated in a scheme in which her conspirators made fraudulent tax refund applications and had the U.S. Treasury send the refund checks to Poitevien’s residence. Poitevien then negotiated the checks by depositing them into her personal bank account and withdrawing the funds. Poitevien admitted cashing 298 tax refund checks, made payable to 139 different victims and totaling $1,101,689.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Thompson sentenced Poitevien to two years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, with the investigation leading to today’s sentence.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David W. Feder of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.