PHILADELPHIA – First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Arleny Reyes Nunez, 42, of Philadelphia, PA and the Dominican Republic, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $154,528 in restitution by United States District Judge Harvey Bartle III, for using the personal identification information of others to file fraudulent tax returns, resulting in more than $150,000 in losses to the federal government.
In August 2020, the defendant pleaded guilty to charges of criminal conspiracy to defraud the federal government, theft of government funds, and the unlawful possession and use of a means of identification. The charges were the result of the defendant and her co-conspirators acting together to defraud the United States by filing fraudulent tax returns using the identities of others.
From 2010 through May 2014, Reyes Nunez prepared and filed approximately 29 false tax returns, retrieved the refund checks (sometimes paying a minor child to retrieve paper checks from mailboxes at vacant Philadelphia properties), and deposited the checks into bank accounts associated with fake businesses she created in furtherance of this scheme. Later, in order to avoid apprehension, the defendant fled to her home country of the Dominican Republic, where she was ultimately arrested by local authorities for using a false passport and extradited back to the United States in January 2020.
“The defendant played a key role in a scheme to exploit others’ personal information in order to steal from the federal government,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams. “Further, when Reyes Nunez became aware that authorities had a warrant for her arrest, she abandoned her family and fled the United States in order to avoid facing criminal consequences. But she could not outrun justice, and now she will pay her debt to society.”
“Ms. Reyes Nunez thought she could flee the country to evade prosecution,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. “What she failed to count on is that IRS Criminal Investigation special agents work diligently to identify and bring to prosecution those who engage in tax fraud. Her extradition and sentencing should serve as a reminder that we are committed to vigorously pursuing those who undermine the integrity of the U.S. tax system.”
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Priya T. De Souza.