JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two men have been charged with conspiracy and theft of government property, in connection with the cashing of numerous federal income tax refund checks that were issued on false and fraudulent tax returns, U.S. attorneys announced Wednesday.
Authorities said the conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and each of the 17 theft counts carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The indictment also notifies Juan Miguel Ruiz and Roberto Bisono the U.S. intends to seek a money judgment of approximately $711,000 -- the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct, according to U.S. attorneys.
According to the indictment, between November 2011 and April 2012, Bisono obtained U.S. Treasury checks that were mailed to bogus taxpayers in New York, based on false and fraudulent tax returns.
The indictment alleged that Bisono then furnished 111 such checks to Ruiz.
The indictment further alleged that Ruiz, who operated a check cashing business on Beach Boulevard, deposited the checks into his business bank account in Jacksonville.
Authorities said Ruiz then took proceeds from the deposits by making cash withdrawals and by writing checks payable to cash. He also allegedly wrote checks to Bisono and other persons associated with Bisono.
On Tuesday, Bisono had an initial appearance and arraignment before a U.S. magistrate judge and was released on bond. On March 19, Ruiz made his initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge and was also released on bond, authorities said.
U.S. attorneys said a trial has been scheduled for June 2014 before a U.S. district judge.