U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman says the scheme is one of the largest ever uncovered and involved more than 8,000 bogus income tax returns seeking more than $65 million in illegal refunds.
The defendants are charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and theft of government property. It's estimated the scheme created $11 million in losses.
Fishman says many of the bogus tax returns were filed using identities stolen from residents of Puerto Rico. The co-conspirators also allegedly bribed mail carriers who delivered the refund checks.
The defendants come from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Michigan.
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