5 from Mexico face charges in Texas in $9M tax refund scam

Associated Press - AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Investigators say five people from Mexico have been indicted in Texas over a $9 million income tax refund scam with ties to Georgia.

Federal prosecutors in Austin say detention hearings were scheduled to begin Thursday in Houston and Atlanta, where the suspects were arrested. One defendant was nabbed in Georgetown, near Austin.

The defendants, who've been living in the U.S., are accused of filing more than 3,200 bogus tax returns since 2014. Prosecutors say the refunds were mailed to more than 200 rented postal boxes in the Houston area.

Natividad Medina, Elizabeth Medina, Sofia Medina, Bertin Garcia, and Yajaira Lopez are charged with the conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Investigators say the scheme involved using Mexican identification documents to fraudulently secure U.S. individual taxpayer identification numbers. False and fraudulent returns were then filed with the IRS service center in Austin.

The indictment was unsealed this week in Austin.

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