Hazleton man sentenced to 11 months’ imprisonment for fraud and naturalization offenses


Date: September 28, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Scranton – Lucas Hernandez-Torres of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 11 months' imprisonment by United States District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani, for defrauding the United States, and for the unlawful procurement of naturalization.

Hernandez-Torres was convicted of defrauding the IRS by allowing other conspirators to claim his dependents as their own, thereby incurring federal tax credits and refunds. Hernandez-Torres received kickbacks in return, and also made false claims in his personal tax returns for wages that he had not earned, thus accruing additional tax credits. The offenses occurred for tax years 2010 through 2014.

Hernandez-Torres, a Mexican national, also was convicted of making false statements on a naturalization application. He faces deportation after the conclusion of his sentence of imprisonment. As part of the sentence, Judge Mariani ordered Hernandez-Torres to pay $56,395 in restitution to the IRS.

Hernandez-Torres's wife, Leticia Salazar, previously was convicted of passport fraud, and deported to Mexico after serving approximately six months in prison. Salazar had submitted a fraudulent application for a United States passport in May 2008. In the ultimately unsuccessful application, Corona-Salazar used a United States citizen's identity as her own. Corona-Salazar was deported before charges were filed in 2015, but identified and re-arrested in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, in May 2018, having re-entered the United States at an unknown time and place.

The matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and by Homeland Security Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo.