A federal grand jury in Rochester has returned a 19-count indictment charging several Canadians with conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, stealing government funds, filing false claims against the United States and transporting money taken by fraud in foreign commerce.
Named in the indictment are Daveanan Sookdeo, Kevin Cyster, Jonathan Neufeld, Christina Starkbaum, Renee Jarvis and Jose Compuesto, all of Ontario, Canada; and Timothy Johnston of Nova Scotia.
They are accused of filing at least 18 false non-resident federal income tax returns, claiming more than $9 million in false federal income tax refunds. In response to the false returns, the IRS sent treasury checks totaling more than $3.5 million to the defendants in Canada.
The charges each carry a maximum penalty of between five and 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.
According to the indictment, Sookdeo served as a middleman between the other Canadian defendants and Ronald Brekke, a previously convicted California fraud promoter. Brekke made false IRS Forms 1099-OID for the defendants and electronically transmitted them to the IRS.
The indictment further alleges that during 2009 and 2010, the defendants crossed the border from Canada into the United States and opened bank accounts in Niagara Falls, Rochester, Brockport and Kenmore; deposited the tax refund checks in those accounts and then transferred funds to financial institutions in Canada and the United States.