A Freeport woman who prosecutors said stole the identities of people in 31 states and used money from filing fraudulent tax returns in their names to fund a “lavish lifestyle,” pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony.
Seerojnie Ram, 49, now is facing 1 1⁄2 to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty in Nassau County Court to a first-degree charge of scheme to defraud, authorities said.
Ram used about $85,000 she got after filing fraudulent tax returns using the names and social security numbers of around 250 people — including some disabled and some dead — to pay for cruises, trips to Atlantic City and home furnishings, according to prosecutors.
As part of her plea bargain, Ram, who also uses the surname Mohan, agreed to pay back about $52,500 to state tax authorities and about $32,500 to the Internal Revenue Service, the Nassau district attorney’s office said.
Prosecutors said the U.S. Postal Inspection Service discovered the scam when mail in the names of many different people went to the same address. Authorities charged Ram in May 2015 with multiple felonies in connection with crimes they said took place between 2013 and 2015.
“Any scammer trying to steal identities in our communities should be on notice that your crimes leave a digital and paper trail that we will follow to bring you to justice,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a prepared statement.
Ram’s attorney couldn’t be immediately reached Thursday.