An identity thief from Freeport was sentenced Wednesday to 1 1⁄2 to 3 years in prison for fraudulently filing more than 200 tax returns to pay for cruises, gambling sprees, a BMW and home furnishings, prosecutors said.
The defendant, Seerojnie Ram, who also called herself Seerojnie Mohan, 50, pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony — scheme to defraud — on July 13, they said.
Ram stole thousands of dollars in tax refunds from her victims — some disabled or deceased — who lived in 31 states, Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a joint statement with U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett.
Judge Robert Bogle on Wednesday also ordered Ram to pay $52,498 in restitution to the state Department of Taxation and Finance and $32,468 to the Internal Revenue Service, the statement said.
“Ms. Ram showed no regard for her victims, stealing their financial DNA for profit,” Bartlett said.
Equipped with her victims’ names and Social Security numbers — but not their knowledge or permission — Ram fraudulently submitted more than 200 personal income tax returns for the tax years of 2013 and 2014 to federal and New York tax authorities, officials said.
Further, she filed for bankruptcy in 2015 — and even collected Medicaid benefits — though hundreds of thousands of dollars moved through her accounts, they said.
As part of her scheme, Ram filed false change-of-address forms with the IRS and the U.S. Post Office in the names of her victims, Singas said.
Postal inspectors began unraveling her scheme after it was discovered that mail addressed to many different people was being sent to the same address, officials said.
Ram, who paid for gambling trips to Atlantic City with other people’s tax refunds, set up prepaid credit card accounts in several states, including New York, so the IRS could directly deposit the refunds that did not belong to her, they said.
She often concealed the ill-gotten dollars with postal money orders, using them, for example to pay the lease on her 2015 BMW X6, officials said.
“With millions of Americans’ financial information recently compromised by data breaches, we have redoubled our commitment to investigate and prosecute identity theft in Nassau County and I strongly encourage everyone to take increased precautions to protect themselves from being victimized by scammers,” Singas said.