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Document and Benefit Fraud

Tampa man sentenced to more than 4 years for fraudulently obtaining tax refunds

TAMPA, Fla. – A Tampa man was sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison Thursday for mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. He is also required to pay a monetary judgment of $36,000.

The sentence resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Tampa Police Department.

According to court documents, Nedal Faisal Ahmad fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks and reloadable debit cards that contained tax refunds that did not belong to him. Ahmad cashed several fraudulent U.S. Treasury checks and swiped the reloadable debit cards at his business, Al-Wafaa Trading. All the while, he knew that the cards and checks contained fraudulent tax refunds. He kept a large portion of the cards’ value as a processing fee. He processed more than $60,000 in fraudulent tax refunds through his business.

Beginning in October 2011, Ahmad began sending fraudulent checks via the U.S. Postal Service and other mail delivery services to an individual in New York. He instructed that individual to pay him 60 percent of the checks’ value. The individual in New York kept the remaining 40 percent. During an undercover operation, Ahmad sent the person in New York nine fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks totaling more than $95,000.

"HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to track down individuals who commit identity theft," said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa.

Ahmad pleaded guilty March 8.

This case was prosecuted as part of Operation Rainmaker, a coordinated effort among the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and various federal and local law enforcement agencies, to combat the filing of false tax returns in the Tampa Bay region.