Tampa Man Sentenced for Role in Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme
ROANOKE, VA—A Tampa, Fla. man previously convicted of a scheme to profit from fraudulent United States Treasury checks was sentenced in absentia yesterday in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke.
Osama “Sam” Mustafa, 51, of Tampa, Fla., was previously convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States for the purpose of impairing the lawful functions of the Internal Revenue Service, to receive fraudulent Treasury Checks, to commit wire fraud and to structure currency transaction, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Yesterday in U.S. District Court, Mustafa was sentenced in absentia to 240 months of federal incarceration. In addition, $17.7 million in assets were ordered forfeited from the defendant. Mustafa removed his monitoring bracelet and fled law enforcement following his conviction and while awaiting sentencing, and his bail bond has been forfeited.
“Mr. Mustafa stole millions of dollars by obtaining fraudulent income tax refunds,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Working with our investigative partners, we will do all we can to prosecute tax fraud and hold tax cheats accountable.”
“Using the U.S. Treasury as a personal piggy bank to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds, Mustafa not only showed his blatant disregard of the law, but also for those taxpayers victimized,” said Thomas J Kelly, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office. “This sentencing is a reminder that identity thieves who use the personal information of unsuspecting victims to file bogus tax returns and steal millions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Mustafa was convicted of purchasing fraudulent income tax return refund checks and checks issued for Refund Anticipation Loans, and then presenting those fraudulent checks for payment at financial institutions in the Western District of Virginia, Middle District of Florida, and elsewhere.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the United States Marshals Service Asset Forfeiture Program, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Mott prosecuted the case for the United States.