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18 Months Imprisonment to a Russian Conspirator

Russia's Maxim Maltsev, aged 24, who drained off thousands of dollars in U.S. tax refunds to the accounts under his control in a phishing attack, has been sentenced 18 months of jail term on December 7, 2009. Along with the imprisonment, Maltsev was ordered to pay the penalty of $136,000 by Judge Burns.

As per the court records, Maltsev played the trick in 2006 while he was residing in San Diego, US. He sent a series of spam messages to fool users into providing their tax refunds to his bogus e-filing site. He opened accounts with numerous banks in San Diego. Before re-submitting people's tax refunds to a genuine e-filing website, he customized these returns to channelize them to various bank accounts controlled by him.

According to the indictment, around 65 federal income tax refund payments, adding up to approx $105,000, were illegally diverted to Maltsev's bank accounts. Prosecutors said that he also persuaded three friends to join in the scheme, running the overall loss to $136,000.

Prosecutors, as per the reports, recommended 12 to 18 month of imprisonment suggested by federal sentencing guidelines. Defense attorney for Maltsev asked for even less time.

Maltsev had apparently returned to his country by the time the federal officials detected the con. Maltsev was caught in April 2008 at San Francisco International Airport after flying back to the US. Then, in July 2008, he was declared guilty to plot to deceive the US.

Tax scam is a very common method to hoax taxpayers and steal their personal details or money, said security experts. A fake email, in February 2009, was making rounds in the inboxes that assured a huge refund in return of providing personal information. Also, in July 2009, similar scam was discovered, that asked for financial details of the recipients.

It is to be noted that Maltsev is being seized without bail awaiting further hearings on his transfer to San Diego. Prosecutors said that regarding other conspirators, the investigation is going on.

Experts commented that such ploys are successful just because unsuspicious tax payers fall for such scams and use free e-filing services that are not affiliated with the IRS.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 18-12-2009

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