Lawrence Man Sentenced to 22 Months in Prison for Falsifying Audio Recordings in Federal Investigation

Defendant was paid cooperator for Internal Revenue Service 

dojBOSTON – A Lawrence man who was working as a paid cooperator for the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with falsifying audio recordings in a federal investigation. 

 Erick Santiago-Then, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to 22 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $10,124 in restitution to the IRS.  In October 2017, Santiago-Then pleaded guilty to 10 counts of falsifying records in a federal investigation. 

In February 2014, Santiago-Then was working as a paid cooperator for IRS-CI.  As part of his work to uncover evidence against the perpetrators of a stolen identity refund fraud scheme, Santiago-Then was given IRS-CI funds and authorized to set up a controlled meeting with a perpetrator to purchase fraudulently-obtained tax refund checks.  Instead, Santiago-Then set up a sham meeting with a cohort during which he obtained a list of personal identifying information rather than tax refund checks. 

Following the controlled meeting, and unbeknownst to IRS-CI, Santiago-Then split the IRS-CI funds with his cohort.  Thereafter, Santiago-Then engineered several recorded phone calls during which his cohort posed as someone else and purportedly gave Santiago-Then the run around concerning the purported mix up regarding the tax refund checks.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Stephen A. Marks, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Boston Field Office; and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Boston Field Division, made the announcement.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. DiSantis of Lelling’s Public Corruption Unit prosecuted the case.