Jacksonville man pleads guilty in tax fraud scheme

By Francine Frazier - Senior web editor
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Roberto Bisono, 34, pleaded guilty Friday to theft of government property in connection with cashing numerous federal income tax refund checks, which were issued on false and fraudulent tax returns.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Bisono, a Jacksonville resident, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. He also agreed to make restitution of approximately $711,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Bisono was released on a $25,000 bond pending a sentencing hearing. A date has not been set.

Bisono was indicted on March 13, 2014. According to court records, between November 2011 and April 2012, Bisono obtained U.S. Treasury checks, which were mailed to bogus taxpayers in the Bronx, New York. These checks were the results of false and fraudulently filed tax returns.

According to the indictment, in November 2011, Bisono deposited the first seven checks into a business bank account of co-defendant Juan Miguel Ruiz, and later furnished the remaining 104 checks to Ruiz, who operated a check-cashing business on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville.

Between November 2011 and April 2012, Ruiz deposited the additional 104 checks into his business bank account in Jacksonville, Florida, according to the indictment. From his business bank account, Ruiz wrote checks totaling over $227,000 to Bisono, and to other persons associated with Bisono.

On July 11, 2014, Ruiz pleaded guilty to conspiracy for his role in the scheme. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Ruiz is currently released on bond pending a sentencing hearing.

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