NEWARK, N.J. – A New Jersey tax preparer and an Arizona man were charged for their roles in conspiracies to commit wire fraud and defraud the IRS, and for aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Omar Khater, 32, of Fairfield, New Jersey, and Walid Khater, 37, of Mesa, Arizona, are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Omar Khater is scheduled to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andre M. Espinosa in Newark federal court. Walid Khater is expected to appear on Jan. 19, 2023, before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in federal court in Arizona.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Omar and Walid Khater were relatives who worked together and with others to steal victims’ identities, which they used to file false tax returns and fraudulently receive tax refunds from the IRS. They electronically submitted tax documents to the IRS falsely claiming that the individual taxpayers listed on those documents had earned certain income or won thousands – and in some cases millions – of dollars in gambling and lottery winnings. The false filings also claimed tax withholdings on the purported income or gambling winnings that entitled the tax filer to refund payments from the IRS. The Khaters and others typically submitted these fraudulent tax filings using the names and personal identifying information of victims without the victims’ knowledge or permission. The fraudulent filings caused the IRS to pay $4.49 million in tax refunds, the Khaters and others directed to various bank accounts that they controlled.
The wire fraud conspiracy count is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison; the count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison; and each count aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, to run consecutively to any term of imprisonment on the underlying felony.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins, and special agents of FBI-Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Fatime M. Cano of the Economic Crimes Unit and Katherine M. Romano of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.