U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy said a recent 17 million dollar federal tax refund scam, busted by the IRS and FBI, was the first of its kind to hit Southwest Virginia.
Federal court records show a Florida man, along with his Roanoke brother, cashed hundreds of phony federal tax refund checks, using a pair of Roanoke Valley convenience stores to clean the money.
The men bought social security numbers from another illegal player in the scheme, social security numbers belonging to dead people and Florida prison inmates, court records claim.
Court records show payments were then distributed to several of the men's family members.
Heaphy said similar schemes are running rampant in Florida.
He said local investigators learned a lot from working on this case.
Muawua "Mike" Khalil Abdeljalil, 43, of Roanoke, and his brother, Khaldoun "Tony" Khalil Khawaja, 47, of Florida, both pleaded guilty for their roles in this case.
One more co-defendant, Osama Mahmud Mustafa, is scheduled to go to trial on April 15th.