SCRANTON, Pa. — A Hazleton, Pennsylvania man, was charged Monday in a criminal information with defrauding the United States, and with the unlawful procurement of naturalization, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. The charges were filed on Feb. 1, 2017, but remained under seal until Sept. 27, 2018.
Lucas Hernandez-Torres, 47, pleaded guilty to the charges on April 25, 2017, and is awaiting sentencing, and faces a maximum penalty under federal law of 10 years imprisonment.
Hernandez-Torres admitted to 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 made false statements on a naturalization application.