Wallace couple sentenced to prison for fraudulent tax returns


WALLACE, NC (WWAY) –  A Wallace couple will spend several years behind pars for filing fraudulent income tax returns.

Judge James C. Dever III also ordered Walda Luna, 46, and Perfecto Ruano, 57, to pay nearly $3,000,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. The Court also issued an order, forfeiting $1,789,520 seized by the Arkansas State Police during a traffic stop in May, 2014, and four properties owned by the defendants in Duplin County.

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On June 20, 2016, Luna and Ruano pled guilty to conspiracy to file fraudulent income tax returns using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). The ITIN program enables aliens, who earn income in the United States, to file income tax returns and pay taxes. The wage and tax statements attached to these ITIN returns were bogus. The individuals never worked for those employers and never paid the taxes through withholdings claimed on the fraudulent returns. The couple used five post office boxes and four physical addresses in Duplin County to receive hundreds of fraudulent refund checks, seeking millions of dollars from the United States Treasury.

The judge sentenced Ruano to 57 months in prison followed by three-years of supervised release. Luna, who also pled guilty to filing a false individual income tax return in her name and aggravated identity theft for fraudulently claiming two individuals as dependents on her return to increase her refund, was sentenced to a total of 81-months.

Luna is not a United States citizen and is subject to deportation after serving her sentence.