CLEVELAND - Two northeast Ohio men have been sentenced for using the identities of dead people to get false tax returns.
Eilan Zayed, 45, of Westlake and Samer Sammor, 40, of Broadview Heights were part of a $1.7 million scheme to defraud the government for tax refund checks, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
"The theft of anyone's identity is a serious offense, but stealing the identities of the recently departed to defraud all the other taxpayers is particularly egregious," said Steven M. Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. "These sentences should cause anyone who would engage in this conduct to reconsider."
Zayed pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and was ordered to pay $177,744 in restitution. Sammor received 18 months in prison and owes $25,420. The Department of Justice said he pleaded guilty to making false claims against the U.S.
Two Florida co-conspirators were also sentenced. Five more learned their fate for the scheme last year.