Date: January 23, 2020
A Chicago-area resident was arrested on a federal grand jury indictment charging him with mail fraud, submitting false claims to the United States for tax refunds, and aggravated identity theft. The Jan. 16, 2020, indictment was unsealed following today's arrest.
According to the indictment, Wilmer Alexander Garcia Meza allegedly used personal identifying information of third parties—including their names, dates of birth, and identification documents such as foreign passports—to fraudulently obtain Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the IRS to individuals who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a social security number. The indictment further alleges that from 2013 through 2017, Garcia used these ITINs to file fraudulent tax returns in the names of the third parties to claim thousands in fraudulent refunds. Garcia also allegedly used the identification documents to cash the fraudulently obtained refund checks.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Garcia faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each mail fraud count, five years in prison for each false claim count, and a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
This case is being investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Trial Attorneys Thomas Flynn and Michael Landman of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting this case.