Chardon woman sentenced for stealing more than 30 identities, committing tax fraud

CHARDON, Ohio - A Chardon woman was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for stealing the identities of more than 30 people.

Nelida Velasco was sentenced to 39 months in a federal prison and ordered to pay more than $47,000 in restitution.

Velasco and co-defendant David Tufts, of Chardon, pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of conspiracy to file false tax returns, filing false tax returns, misuse of Social Security numbers and aggravated identity theft.

Velasco stole information, including names, social security numbers and other personal identifiers, of at least 35 people from her work place and then provided that information to people who used it to file fraudulent tax returns.

Velasco and Tufts, along with other co-conspirators, filed at least 35 false federal income tax returns in 2009 and 2010, resulting in $155,000 in false claims being filed with the IRS.

Velasco worked for a medical billing company at the time the identity thefts were committed.

She is currently out on bond and will have to report for her prison term at a later date.

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