Refund fraud schemers sentenced to prison


Date: May 19, 2022


Yesterday, Freddy Danilo Naranjo, formerly of Avondale, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg to 10 months in prison. Naranjo previously pleaded guilty to Making False Claims. Naranjo's co-defendant, Jairo Roberto Hidalgo, of Phoenix, Arizona, pleaded guilty to the same charge. On February 17, 2022, Hidalgo was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi to 17 months in prison.

From 2015 to 2017, Naranjo and Hidalgo worked together to submit false tax returns in the name of Mexican nationals who neither lived nor worked in the United States. Naranjo was a tax preparer and filed the returns, which were based on fake W-2 forms that contained false wage and withholding information. Hidalgo provided Naranjo with the fake W-2 forms and other personally-identifying information about the purported taxpayers. Based on the actions of Hidalgo and Naranjo, the government paid out approximately $500,000 in undue refunds. Naranjo and Hidalgo, along with other individuals, shared those refunds.

Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alanna R. Kennedy, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution.