MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Two Miami-Dade tax professionals stole thousands worth of tax return dollars and investigators are asking additional victims to come forward, police said Tuesday.
According to Miami-Dade police, 50-year-old Juan Carlos Mendieta of Miami Gardens and 26-year-old Leandro Machado Gonzalez ran a firm called “Famous Accounting, Inc.” and would prepare and submit tax returns on behalf of their clients.
The firm was last known to operate in an office park on Southwest 120th Street, immediately north of Miami Executive Airport, according to an arrest form.
The two would “falsify the information submitted to the IRS and use their business bank account to collect the inflated tax returns,” Detective Chris Thomas, a Miami-Dade police spokesperson, said.
According to the arrest form, the case dates back to February 2021, when the two filed a tax return on behalf of a woman who later realized she never received her tax refund.
The arrest form states Mendieta wrote the victim a $29,010 check. She said she “trusted” him, but the check later turned out to be worthless, police said. The victim later contacted police.
“(W)hen confronted by several clients about their missing tax returns, the pair would write worthless checks to cover their fraudulent practices,” Thomas said.
According to the arrest form, police looked into bank accounts connected to the duo, and determined that Mendieta and Machado Gonzalez “(attempted) to disguise their illegal activity by transferring the funds to several bank accounts and shortly closing them to elude financial investigators and law enforcement.”
Police said investigators believe the two are likely responsible for more cases of fraud.
“Detectives believe there are additional victims and encourage anyone who has utilized their services and had their tax return deposits stolen to contact investigators,” Thomas said.
Mendieta and Machado Gonzalez face money laundering, organized scheme to defraud and grand theft charges. Additionally, Mendieta faces a charge of writing a worthless check.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477 or 866-471-8477.