CAMDEN, N.J. – Following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Criminal Investigation; and the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service, a New Jersey man admitted his role in aiding and assisting the preparation of false income tax returns, illegal use of Social Security numbers and unlawfully obtaining U.S. citizenship.
Nicolas Gomez-Rua, 54, of Atlantic City, N.J., and Medellin, Colombia, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to three counts of a 45-count indictment in federal court.
According to court documents, Gomez-Rua was charged Oct. 16, 2012, with: 29 counts of aiding and assisting the preparation of a false income tax return, 10 counts of illegal use of a Social Security number and two counts of unlawful procurement of citizenship or naturalization.
Gomez-Rua was arrested Nov. 29, 2012, by HSI special agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York when he tried to enter the United States from Colombia.
Between 2008 and 2010, Gomez-Rua operated Quick Tax Solution and Rapid Tax Solution in Ventnor City, N.J. According to Gomez-Rua, he met with clients and obtained information and documents from them which he used to prepare their tax returns. Gomez-Rua admitted that he intentionally included fraudulent items and tax credits, such as false and fraudulent dependents, child tax credits, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) claims, fuel tax credits and education credits, in order to obtain larger refunds than those to which his clients were entitled.
Gomez-Rua admitted that he maintained a file of Social Security cards and birth certificates for individuals born in Puerto Rico that was used to add fraudulent dependents on the 1040 Forms that were filed with the IRS. Clients paid Gomez-Rua from $300 to $500 for the use of fraudulent dependents. Gomez-Rua admitted that after preparing the fraudulent returns, he filed the false returns electronically and through the mail with the IRS.
Gomez-Rua admitted that 729 U.S. individual federal income tax returns containing fraudulent items and credits were prepared by Quick Tax Solution and Rapid Tax Solution on behalf of its clients for tax years 2007 through 2009. Based on the false and fraudulent returns prepared for tax years 2007 through 2009, the United States lost approximately $170,211 in tax revenue.
Gomez-Rua said he was born in Colombia and in October 1993, he illegally entered the United States. Gomez-Rua said that Clara Estrada Hernandez, his wife and a citizen of Colombia, also illegally entered the United States from Colombia. Sometime after entering the United States, Gomes-Rua settled in Atlantic City, N.J.
While in Atlantic City, Gomez-Rua admitted that he purchased the identity of "Wigaberto Santiago," including his name, date of birth and Social Security number. The actual Santiago was living in Puerto Rico. Gomez-Rua then used that identity to work at various locations in Atlantic City.
Gomez-Rua further admitted that he purchased the identity of "Elizabeth Tirado," including her name, date of birth and Social Security number, for Hernandez-Estrada. Tirado was a citizen of Puerto Rico. Gomez-Rua stated that between 1997 and 2008, Hernandez use the Tirado identity to work in Atlantic City.
Gomez-Rua said that he married Hernandez March 30, 1998, under the name of Elizabeth Tirado. He admitted that at various times between 1998 and 2008, he prepared and filed with the IRS income tax returns which included W-2 Forms issued to Hernandez under the Tirado identity.
Gomez-Rua admitted that he submitted an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Feb. 8, 2001, for lawful permanent resident status, based on his fraudulent marriage to Tirado, a U.S. citizen. On Feb. 13, 2002, USCIS approved Gomez-Rua's application, granted him permanent resident status in the United States and issued him a "Green Card."
On May 9, 2006, Gomez-Rua submitted an application to USCIS seeking to become a citizen of the United States based on his marriage to a U.S. citizen. Gomez-Rua admitted that he signed the application under penalty of perjury and that the application included the following false representations: that he had never used other names; that he had been married to and living with the same U.S. citizen for the last three years, and that his spouse had been a U.S. citizen for the last three years; and that his spouse was Elizabeth Gomez.
On Feb. 23, 2007, Gomez-Rua was interviewed under oath, subject to the penalty of perjury, by an officer with USCIS in Mount Laurel, N.J., and repeated the lies in his application. Gomez-Rua admitted that had he told the officer the truth, then he would not have been eligible to become a U.S. citizen. On Feb. 27, 2007, USCIS approved Gomez-Rua's application for citizenship and he was naturalized as a citizen of the United States.
The charge to which Gomez-Rua pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
His sentencing is scheduled for July 17, 2013.