PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Cuban national has pleaded guilty to his role in an international conspiracy to file more than 900 phony federal tax returns seeking $2.2 million in refunds by using employee information stolen from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Yoandy Perez Llanes, 33, pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy and aggravated identity theft Monday before a federal judge in Pittsburgh.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci said Llanes' role was to track phony tax refunds that were to be paid as Amazon.com credits and to receive cellphones, computers and other electronics bought with the credits that were shipped to him in Venezuela. The service that converts tax refunds to the merchandise credits is offered by online filing service Turbo Tax and is known as monetizing.
Llanes, through an interpreter, told U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak that he didn't realize at first that the shipments were part of an illegal scheme.