DENVER — A woman from Miami, Fla., and formerly of Denver, Colo., appeared in federal court Wednesday and was charged with aggravated identity theft, tax fraud, visa fraud and social security fraud.
This case was investigated by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), and Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General (SSA OIG).
Libia Hernandez-Garcia, 60, was originally indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver May 21, 2013. Her indictment remained sealed until she was arrested in Miami Feb. 26, 2014. A superseding indictment was filed Feb. 25. She made her initial appearance April 16, 2014 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix, where she was advised of her rights and the charges pending against her. Her indicted co-conspirator, Diana Aleph Aguilar Hernandez, made her initial appearance March 13, 2014 on one count of visa fraud.
According to the charging documents, from 2009 through 2011, Hernandez-Garcia fraudulently claimed five income tax refunds by preparing and filing federal income tax returns for several individuals. Furthermore, for her personal 2009 through 2011 federal income tax returns, she submitted false claims for federal income tax returns totaling over $16,000.
From 2009 through 2012, Hernandez-Garcia is charged with committing aggravated identity theft by misusing the Social Security Number (SSN) of several individuals. She caused the filing of individual income tax returns which falsely included the name and SSN, as a dependent, for the person identified as the filer of the tax return.
From 2008 through 2011, Hernandez-Garcia is also charged with assisting in preparing and filing with the IRS the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return of her husband for tax years 2007 through 2010, which were materially false and fraudulent. Particularly, the dependents claimed on her husband's tax returns could not lawfully be claimed as his dependents.
Furthermore, on two separate occasions, one in 2008 and another in 2011, Hernandez-Garcia made false statements under penalty of perjury in Petitions for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Such false statements included:
- the beneficiary of the H-1B visa petition, Diana Aleph Aguilar Hernandez, would be employed by a local hotel operating under a national brand name as Operations Manager;
- Libia Hernandez was an authorized official to make such a petition on behalf of that hotel;
- Libia Hernandez was authorized by that hotel to act on behalf of the company in labor certification matters; and
- the rate of pay for the beneficiary would be $51,000 and $35,425 per year, respectively.
Specifically, Hernandez-Garcia was charged with the following crimes:
- two counts of visa fraud, which carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison, and a fine up to $250,000 per count;
- five counts of filing false tax claims, which carries a penalty of not more than five years in federal prison, and a fine up to $250,000, per count;
- 13 counts of misusing a SSN, which carries a penalty of not more than five years in federal prison, and a fine up to $250,000, per count;
- six counts of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory penalty of two years in federal prison, and a fine up to $250,000, per count;
- four counts of aiding in a false tax return, which carries a penalty of not more than three years in federal prison, and a fine up to $100,000, per count.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Brown, District of Colorado.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.