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A Cuban citizen admitted Wednesday that in 2015 and 2016, he personally collected $1.3 million from worried taxpayers in Arkansas, 16 other states and the District of Columbia as part of a nationwide scam through which a group of Cubans posed as U.S. government officials.

Angel Chapotin Carrillo, 42, has been in federal custody in Arkansas since April 2017, after he and nine others were indicted in Little Rock on fraud charges involving more than 750 victims in Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Oklahoma, Alabama, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Washington state and Washington, D.C.

The Arkansas indictment covers only part of a nationwide scheme that has also led to indictments in other federal jurisdictions and is believed to have defrauded about 7,000 victims of about $9 million altogether.

Carrillo was considered one of the "top runners" in the Arkansas-based scheme, in which people pretending to be IRS officials called taxpayers, telling them they had outstanding tax debts and were about to be arrested or sued unless the debts were paid immediately.

Floyd Orrell, an agent for the Office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, testified at a hearing in Little Rock last summer that the callers urged their victims to immediately go to a bank, often while the caller remained on the line, and wire cash to an IRS official in another state.

The "IRS official" in the other state was actually one of several runners, like Carrillo, who would be dispatched to pick up the cash, usually from Walmart-2-Walmart Money Transfer stations, Orrell said. He said that service was preferred because it only required a recipient to supply a name and address to pick up the money, and the money could be obtained at any Wal-Mart location in the designated state. Orrell said MoneyGram was also used, but recipients were required to show identification there and fill out receipts.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hunter Bridges told U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson at Carrillo's plea hearing Wednesday that officials were able to obtain numerous photographs and videos showing Carrillo picking up the cash.

Bridges said Carrillo and two other people he traveled with would then send the proceeds to Yosvany Padilla, 27, in Florida, in the form of bulk cash drops or by depositing the funds in bank accounts associated with Padilla. Orrell described Padilla as "the main leader of this particular group."

In January, Padilla pleaded guilty to a charge of wire-fraud conspiracy -- the same charge to which Carrillo pleaded guilty Wednesday. Padilla's sentencing was set for April but has been postponed. Carrillo's sentencing is set for 10:30 a.m. Oct. 23.

Padilla admitted being involved in the Arkansas-based conspiracy between March 2015 and May 2016. He said he coordinated, produced and distributed false identification documents for other co-conspirators.

Two other defendants in the Arkansas case -- Dennis Delgado Caballero, 39, of Miami and Jeniffer Valerino Nunez, 21, of Cuba -- have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing before Wilson. The others are awaiting trial, except for one person who remains at large.

Carrillo was living in Hialeah, Fla., when he was arrested in 2017. Orrell said Carrillo was able to travel easily across the country by plane and automobile, using his various false identities.

The wire-fraud conspiracy charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Federal sentencing guidelines, which suggest penalty ranges within the statutory maximum, won't suggest a particular sentence range for Carrillo until a pre-sentence investigation is complete. However, Bridges and defense attorney Richard Mays Jr. stipulated in Carrillo's plea agreement that he will face several sentencing enhancements because the loss totaled more than $1.5 million, the crime resulted in substantial financial hardship to 25 or more victims and Carrillo carried out his crime by acting like he was representing a government agency.

He will receive credit for pleading guilty, but the enhancements far outweigh the credit.

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Metro on 07/26/2018

Print Headline: Man who posed as IRS official, took $1.3M admits guilt in Arkansas-based scam

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Comments

  • nc72211
    July 26, 2018 at 8:01 a.m.

    20 years for the fraud + 30 more for phone harassment.

  • LR1955
    July 26, 2018 at 8:40 a.m.

    See, immigrants can make a lot of money in the USA

  • RamblinRazorWreck
    July 26, 2018 at 9:54 a.m.

    Interesting that the "storyteller" chose not to include (or investigate) whether or not the Cuban Nationals or their accomplices were in the States legally.

  • CarpeNoctis
    July 26, 2018 at 12:56 p.m.

    Isn't the wet foot dry foot policy in effect regarding Cuba? If a person from Cuba actually sets foot in the US, automatically given green card and can become a naturalized citizen after so many years. Wholly different as to what other citizens from other countries go through.

  • cliffcarson
    July 27, 2018 at 12:22 a.m.

    The Income Tax Scammers are still operating. And also a host of other scammers swarm the country. They get away with it most of the time because our Attorneys General fail to really get involved as a unit. The Arkansas Attorney General Office told me that they could only get involved with Arkansas Citizen complaints. I asked our AG why not work with the other AG offices across the country to stop scammers. The Arkansas representative told me they could not even so much as contact another State AG. I wasn't hit by the Tax Scam because I knew that the IRS never call instead they send a notice of their finding in the mail.
    I was scammed by another ruse and over a period of a year and a half working with an Arkansas AG Rep was able to get back half of my loss. It was a small amount but I told the AG Rep that this was a U S wide Scam raking in tens of thousands of people. The AG sent letters to the scammer getting them to promise to reimburse me and even sent our AG a letter saying they had deposited a full refund to me. Actually they only deposited 50% of the amount. I corresponded with the AG pointing out that what they said they did and what they actually did was not the same thing. I gave them documents to prove it. But since the amount was small ( under $200 dollars) they failed to follow up on the matter. The outfit is still out there scamming people. They are only one scammer outfit but their kind are legion across America. I called the US AG office and suggested some ways to put a real hurt on scammers but although they talked with me I could sense that they weren't really interested. A government that listens in on every communication should be able to put a stop to the scamming business.

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