Minneapolis, MN (KROC-AM News) - A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against a Rochester based tax return preparer.

Mercedes Maldonado Rodriguez is facing dozens of charges connected to a scheme that allegedly involved the purchase of authentic birth certificates of Mexican nationals, which she and her co-conspirators used with falsified documents to obtain Taxpayer Identification Numbers from the IRS. The Taxpayer Identification Numbers are issued to individuals who do not have or are not eligible to obtain Social Security numbers.

The indictment alleges the IRS issued numbers were then used to file fraudulent tax returns to claim tax refunds.  The indictment lists 33 counts of aggravated identity theft, 7 counts of theft of public money and one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government.

According to the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, each of the identity theft charges carries a minimum sentence of 2 years in prison.

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