Milwaukee area couple sentenced in false federal tax return, identity theft fraud

MILWAUKEE -- 48-year-old Vladimir Sonin of Bayside was sentenced on Thursday, March 31st on charges of aiding and abetting mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, in connection with Sonin’s role in a scheme to use stolen identities to file false federal tax returns demanding fraudulent refunds.

Sonin was sentenced to 58 months in federal prison, 24 of which were mandatory and consecutive, three years’ supervised release, and was also ordered to pay $308,499 in restitution.

Sonin’s sentencing followed the sentencing of his wife, 44-year-old Natalya Sonina on March 22nd for her participation in the same fraud scheme. Natalya Sonina was sentenced to 39 months in federal prison, 24 of which are mandatory and consecutive, three years’ supervised release, and was ordered to pay $308,499 in restitution along with her husband Vladimir Sonin.

Vladimir Sonin pleaded guilty to the federal charges on November 18, 2015, and Natalya Sonina pleaded guilty to those same charges on November 24, 2015. Records filed in court indicate that the couple participated in a scheme to defraud with others from approximately January 1, 2013 until May 13, 2015, which included stealing money from the IRS and various state treasuries through electronically filed fraudulent tax returns claiming a tax refund in the names of identity theft victims. The couple also received by mail unauthorized access devices issued by financial institutions in the names of identity theft victims, and then caused the IRS and various state treasuries to electronically place stolen tax refunds onto those unauthorized access devices. The scheme also included stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from unidentified victims who paid to remove a “ransomware” virus that had frozen these persons’ computers. Finally, the couple used those unauthorized access devices at ATMs and transferred a majority of the scheme proceeds to individuals in the Ukraine.