SALEM — A Salem man who allegedly swore to federal investigators he had "learned his lesson" after a 2013 conviction for identity fraud and filing fraudulent tax returns has been arrested on charges that he did it again.
Roosevelt Fernandez, 41, of 120 Bridge St., was ordered held pending a full hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court on a federal prosecutor's request to detain him until he stands trial. Fernandez is charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
A federal investigator said in an affidavit that Fernandez filed some 40 tax returns seeking more than $600,000 in refunds by using the stolen identities of multiple victims. He also collected a stimulus check and applied for a CARES Act payroll protection loan.
He also ginned up phony W-2 forms for employers where the victims had never worked, including UPS and Lahey Hospital, court papers show.
The refund and other checks were deposited into a business account in the name of Soluciones Multi Service.
Fernandez had served 42 months in federal prison starting in 2013. After his release, special agent William Noonan wrote, Fernandez called him saying he wanted to return to the tax preparation business, saying he had learned his lesson, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
Early last year, these fraudulent cases began coming to light when some of the victims tried to file their tax returns, prosecutors said. One victim told investigators that she had used Fernandez once to file her tax return but had not authorized him to do them for the 2019 tax year.
Another was someone whose mother used Fernandez to do her taxes, according to the affidavit.
If convicted he faces a mandatory minimum two years and up to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors argued during an initial appearance hearing conducted remotely from the Plymouth County Jail that Fernandez poses a flight risk due to his ties to the Dominican Republic, where he has traveled at least five times since last year.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.