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Published on June 15, 2024
Valrico Man Sentenced to 15 Months for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme Exceeding $1.5 MillionSource: Unsplash/ Leon Dewiwje

A Valrico man has been sentenced to a stretch of 15 months in federal lockup for his role in churning out false and fraudulent income tax returns. The U.S. District Judge, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, handed down the sentence to Abdul Q. Aziz, who had previously admitted guilt on April 4, 2022, according to a release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

The documents presented in court portrayed Aziz as the primary facilitator for assisting taxpayers—mostly comprising friends and family—in filing tax returns that falsely inflated their withholding credits based on interest paid on mortgages. This manipulation of information resulted in illegitimate refund claims totaling over $1.5 million. The Internal Revenue Service incurred substantial losses from his actions, amounting to over $226,000.

Acting Special Agent in Charge of the CI Tampa Field Office, Lani Rosado-Espinal, underscored the gravity of the situation. "This sentencing shows how seriously we are committed to investigating and stopping the filing of fraudulent returns," she stated. According to the Department of Justice, she warned against such deceptive practices and emphasized that the pursuit of "ill-gotten gains" comes at too high a cost to freedom.

The case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer, is part of a broader IRS investigation. With operations spanning Tampa and Orlando, investigators have been dismantling elements of this mortgage income/withholding scheme for a significant period. The IRS Criminal Investigation team is leading the effort to unravel this complex attempt to defraud government coffers.

Tampa-Crime & Emergencies