MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Freeport woman pleaded guilty today to charges related to stealing the identities of hundreds of people across 31 states in order to fraudulently obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Seerojnie Ram, a/k/a Seerojnie Mohan, 49, pleaded guilty before Judge Robert Bogle to Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (an E felony). The defendant is due back in court September 18 and is expected to be sentenced to 1-1/2 to 3 years in prison. Additionally, the defendant has agreed to pay $52,498 to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance for state tax refunds she fraudulently received and sign a $32,468 confession of judgement to the Internal Revenue Service for federal tax refunds she fraudulently received.
“This defendant used the identities of hundreds of disabled and deceased people to file fraudulent tax returns, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund her lavish lifestyle,” said DA Singas. “Working with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the IRS, and the State Department of Tax and Finance, we followed the money back to this defendant and now she will be held accountable for this massive fraud. 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.”
“Today’s plea by Ms. Ram, a/k/a Ms. Mohan should be a great reminder that when the US Mail is used to commit a crime, Postal Inspectors and their law enforcement partners will be there to bring you to justice for your illegal activities,” said Assistant Inspector in Charge Ruth M. Mendonca.
“Identity theft continues to pose a real threat to New Yorkers,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion. “We use cutting-edge technology to prevent hundreds of millions of dollars in suspicious refund payments and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who use compromised information to steal from New Yorkers face justice.”
DA Singas said that between Oct. 1, 2013 and May 13, 2015, Ram fraudulently submitted more than 200 personal income tax returns for the tax years of 2013 and 2014 electronically to the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
As part of the scheme, Ram obtained identities – including those of disabled people and the deceased – and filed forged US Postal Service Change of Address forms or IRS Change of Address forms in order to change the addresses of hundreds of individuals to addresses under her control.
To accept direct deposit of refunds from the IRS, Ram set up Green Dot pre-paid credit card accounts in several states, including New York.
Records show that Ram spent money obtained through this scheme for trips to Atlantic City, for cruises, and to furnish her home. She often used postal money orders to conceal money flow – for example, paying the lease on her 2015 BMW X6. Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars of money being moved through her accounts, Ram filed for bankruptcy in 2015 and even received Medicaid benefits.
Inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service discovered the scheme when it became known that mail in the name of many different individuals was being sent to the same address. The USPS then referred the case to the DA’s office for investigation. DA investigators and US Postal Inspectors investigated the case, with assistance by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
Assistant District Attorney Connie Gentile, Chief of the Public Assistance Frauds Unit, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Betty Rodriguez of DA Singas’ Economic Crimes Bureau are prosecuting this case. Ram is represented by Stacy Eves, Esq.