A former used-car salesman was arrested on federal charges of filing nearly 700 fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities and cashing refund checks totaling more than $2.2 million.
Ronald Chisholm, 53, of Berkley Avenue Extension was arrested Thursday on charges of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. He made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court and was jailed pending a bond hearing Tuesday.
The victims had no idea that their identities were being used repeatedly on fraudulent tax returns, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Chisholm is accused of filing 698 falsified returns between 2009 and this year and collecting $2.27 million in refunds, IRS Special Agent Jeremy Ashe said in a court affidavit.
The investigation began about a year ago when the IRS was contacted by a check-cashing business to report that one of its employees had been fired for taking kickbacks from a customer in exchange for cashing about $2 million worth of IRS refund checks, Ashe said in the affidavit.
About 640 checks were cashed at the unidentified business, and the rest were cashed in other states. Chisholm is accused of having the checks mailed to addresses in New York, Florida and Pennsylvania, but also to his home in Norfolk, the agent said in the affidavit.
The IRS has interviewed 10 of the victims, all of whom live in or have ties to the New York region. One victim told agents she did not file tax returns for the years 2009 and 2010, but they showed her the two fraudulent ones that had been filed. She did not know the names of the dependents listed on the returns. In some cases, Chisholm allegedly used the names of his own dependents on returns, Ashe said.
It was not revealed how the 698 identities were stolen. Refunds issued generally ranged from $3,000 to $3,600, Ashe said.
Some of the proceeds were deposited into bank accounts of Chisholm's former employer, All Cars Inc. on Azalea Garden Road, according to the affidavit. The business is not otherwise connected to the alleged crime.
Chisholm has a lengthy criminal record but has served little jail or prison time.
Norfolk police arrested him in December 2013 on charges of domestic assault involving his girlfriend and the theft of two iPads and a diamond necklace. Those charges were dropped.
He was charged in 2007 with stalking, assault and destruction of property involving the same woman, and those charges were dropped. Four assault and battery charges from 2005 in Norfolk, involving the same girlfriend and two other women, were dismissed, too.
In 2006, Chisholm was convicted in Chesapeake of selling property that had a lien on it. He was sentenced to five years in prison with all the time suspended.
He violated probation three times and served four months in jail as a result, court records say.
He also served about 1-1/2 years in prison in the late 1990s following convictions for grand larceny and marijuana possession.
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