Eastern District of Pennsylvania | Two Allentown residents charged with Stolen Identity Reimbursement Fraud (SIRF), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) fraud and aggravated identity theft conspiracy

PHILADELPHIA — United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that married couple Jose Baez and Jessenia Cordero, both of Allentown, PA, have been charged by way of complaint with one count of conspiracy in to defraud the United States with respect to certain claims, conspiracy to commit aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, all resulting from Baez and Cordero filing fraudulent tax returns and PUA requests with stolen identities.

The complaint alleges that Baez and Cordero used stolen identities to file at least 316 fraudulent federal tax returns and 168 fraudulent PUA requests. Baez and Cordero filed the misrepresentations with designated tax preparer identification numbers registered under their names. According to the complaint, Baez and Cordero used the company’s alter ego, JB Multiservices, a company owned by Baez, and of which Cordero was an employee, to file the fraudulent statements. The false claims were filed using an IP address registered with Baez at the company’s location. Additionally, according to the complaint, at least 674 misrepresentations were made by the IP address registered there by Baez, Cordero, Person 1, and Person 2. As stated in the complaint, according to Internal Revenue Service records (IRS), the 316 false returns filed by Baez and Cordero claimed at least $1.8 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

As also alleged in the complaint, the IP address registered for Baez at his and Cordero’s homes was used to file 168 fraudulent PUA requests. After the fraudulent claims were filed, the state labor agency responsible for administering PUA benefits dispersed funds on the fraudulent PUA claims by sending PUA debit cards to addresses in Allentown and elsewhere. Over $1.4 million in PUA benefits were withdrawn from ATMs on the cards. PUA debit cards were also issued under the names of Baez and Cordero and mailed to an Allentown address. PUA debit cards issued under the Baez and Cordero names were often used in ATMs immediately before or after PUA debit cards were issued on other applications filed with stolen identities.

As alleged in the complaint, during a search warrant dated July 6, 2022, which was executed pursuant to a federal search warrant issued in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania of the home of Baez and Cordero, federal agents recovered lists of identities and documents that were used to file fraudulent tax returns and AUP requests.

The case has been investigated by the Allentown Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by the Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy M. Lanni and Mary A. Fucher.

An indictment, information or criminal complaint is an accusation. An accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

People with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Disaster Fraud Center hotline at 866-720 -5721 or through the NCDF’s online complaint form at: https://www.justice. gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form


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