Crime & Courts

Carpentersville man pleads guilty to mail fraud

U.S. District Courthouse in Rockford
U.S. District Courthouse in Rockford

A Carpentersville man pleaded guilty Monday to mail fraud and theft of public money in federal court.

Roberto Fisher, 50, admitted in a written plea agreement that he and others participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money from the U.S. Treasury Department.

In the plea deal, Fisher said he met with Patty Cordoba, the owner and manager of Patty's Tax Service, a tax preparation business that operated in Capron and McHenry, and other employees, beginning around March 9, 2010, through May 18, 2012. Fisher admitted to doing so to provide identifying and other information to Patty's Tax Service to have fraudulent tax returns prepared and filed on behalf of individuals who lived in Mexico. As part of this scheme to defraud, Fisher provided false information about an individual who lived in Mexico to obtain Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers for those individuals so they could use the numbers to file fraudulent federal income tax returns, according to the plea agreement.

During this time, Fisher provided Patty Cordoba, Mario Cordoba, Luisa Carbajal, Alicia Arevalo and other employees of Patty's Tax Service with identifying information for nearly a dozen people and their dependents, all of whom lived in Mexico. According to the plea agreement, this included birth certificates and vaccination records for the purpose of filing 53 fraudulent federal income tax returns for tax years 2007 through 2011.

Fisher obtained the identifying information for these individuals and their dependents by telling them he was going to use their information for tax purposes and would give them money for allowing him to use their information.

On May 18, 2012, a federal search warrant was served at Patty's Tax Service. Yet Fisher continued the scheme, according to the federal prosecutors, by preparing four additional fraudulent tax forms for the 2012 tax year. In total, Fisher, Patty Cordoba, Mario Cordoba, Carbajal and Arevalo, along with other employees of Patty's Tax Service, mailed 57 returns to the IRS in Austin, Texas; Fresno, California; and Kansas City, Missouri.

As a result of Fisher filing the fraudulent tax returns, the IRS issued about $207,467 in refunds, to which he was not entitled.

The charge to which Fisher pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in priso and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greater.

Fisher's sentencing is set for 10:30 a.m. March 27 in U.S. District Court in Rockford.

In connection with this case, Patty Cordoba, formerly of Crystal Lake, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced Sept. 28, 2016, to 55 months in federal prison. Arevalo, then of Poplar Grove, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison Aug. 29, 2016. Carbajal, then of Marengo, was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison June 23, 2016, and Mario Cordoba, then of Crystal Lake, was sentenced Sept. 1, 2016, to 33 months in federal prison.

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