Providence man pleads guilty in ID theft scheme

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A second suspect pleaded guilty this week for his role in a massive identity theft and tax fraud scheme.

In Federal court Wednesday, 22-year-old Richard Lara of Providence admitted to charges of aggravated identity theft, conspiracy, and theft of government property.

Prosecutors allege Lara and another man, 22-year-old Julian Balbi, stole the personal information of more than 1,200 people and used it to file fraudulent federal tax returns totaling more than $1.8 million.

Lara and Balbi were arrested in January 2012 after Rhode Island State Police discovered 87 U.S. Treasury checks worth nearly $600,000 in their car during a routine traffic stop.

Balbi pleaded guilty in June to participating in the scheme.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 18

Lara’s sentencing is scheduled for December 4.



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