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Illegal Tax Refund Checks Found in Traffic Stop

December 22, 2013

Tax Fraud – A man was arrested in Jones County in an alleged tax fraud scam involving more than $250,000 in illegal tax refund checks. He is now under a five-count federal indictment after a grand jury passed the indictment on Lenin Saul Martinez Urbina in U.S. District Court on Dec. 10. He is also charged with conspiracy, two counts of theft of government funds and two counts of identity theft.

IRS Special Agent Daniel Henry wrote in the affidavit that Urbina was stopped on Interstate 59 in Jones County on Nov. 5, allegedly for speeding. A search of his vehicle uncovered 32 U.S. Treasury checks, along with 25 photocopies of Social Security cards with identities matching those on 25 of the checks. The checks totaled $254,697.76, according to the affidavit and all refunds from the 2012 tax year.

The indictment charges Urbina with conspiring to defraud the United States, as well as commit identity theft and theft of government funds. Henry wrote in his affidavit that the return checks were associated with taxpayers in New York and New Jersey, although further research revealed that the identities the checks were allegedly issued to actually live in Puerto Rico. Most Puerto Rican residents are not required to report income earned from inside Puerto Rico to the IRS. “The result of this is a large number of Social Security numbers issued to Puerto Rican residents that are susceptible to identity thieves,” Henry wrote.

Urbina is set to stand trial Feb. 18 in Hattiesburg’s U.S. District Court and ordered detained pending trial in a November hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker, who deemed him a flight risk.


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