Date: June 25, 2020
SCRANTON - Jonathan Jacome of Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on June 23, 2020, to 169 months' imprisonment by United States District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani for money laundering conspiracy.
Jacome was a leader and organizer in a sophisticated scheme that used stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns in 2011 and 2012, and obtained over $7.7 million in fraudulent federal tax refunds. Jacome opened three check cashing businesses in Luzerne County solely to carry out the fraud scheme, and through which he processed the fraudulently obtained Treasury checks. Jacome pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement with the government to a single count of money laundering conspiracy. As part of that agreement, Jacome admitted that he committed the underlying crimes of theft of public money, wire fraud, and bank fraud.
Jacome also conspired with others to present false testimony to a federal grand jury investigating the scheme. The fabricated testimony was intended to hide the fact that Jacome used stolen funds to purchase a house in Mountaintop, and to otherwise shield Jacome from criminal liability. Jacome's sentence reflected an enhancement for the obstruction.
Judge Mariani cited the widespread scope of the criminal activity, the degree of dishonesty involved during the scheme and after, and the extensive and intricate efforts to conceal the crimes in imposing the 169-month sentence. Jacome was also ordered to pay over $7.7 million in restitution and must forfeit certain properties acquired with stolen funds.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Hazelton City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean A. Camoni is prosecuting the case.