Acting U.S. Attorney Louis D. Lappen announced Monday four Philadelphia men pleaded guilty to conspiring to file fraudulent tax returns.
The defendants who took part in the scheme include:
- Forty-year-old Ronald LaFortune
- Thirty-five-year-old Jean Celestin
- Twenty-six-year-old Douge Francois
- Twenty-eight-year-old Daniel Monville
Celestin, Francois and LaFortune conspired to utilize stolen IDs to submit and file tax returns, seeking false tax refunds. LaFortune opened a bank account under the name “Ronald Tax Service” at a Citizens Bank in Philadelphia. He and his co-conspirators prompted the Internal Revenue Service to deposit some of the tax refunds into that bank account. The money was then distributed to Celestin, Francois and others who later joined the conspiracy. The tax loss totaled up to $118,000.
LaFortune and Celestin are scheduled to appear in court for their sentencing on December 18. Francois’ sentencing date is scheduled for December 19. All three defendants face a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
In a related, but separate scheme, Monville conspired with others to utilized stolen IDs to file fraudulent tax returns. Monville opened a bank account under the name “Daniel Tax Services” at a Citizens Bank in Philadelphia. The tax loss totaled up to $155,789.23.
Monville and LaFortune did not own a tax preparation business.
Monville’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 13. The conspiracy charge carries a 10-year prison sentence and the aiding and abetting charge carries a 5-year prison sentence.