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Pair Sentenced For Identity Theft

Two Rhode Island men have been sentenced to prison for fraudulently obtaining federal tax refunds using the stolen personal information of more than 1,200 people.

The state attorney general's office says 23-year-old Julian Balbi of Providence was sentenced in federal court on Friday to 30 months in prison. A co-defendant, 23-year-old Richard Lara of Providence, received a 60-month prison sentence in the same court Thursday.

Prosecutors say the scheme involved using stolen personal information to file fraudulent tax returns totaling nearly $1.9 million. Rhode Island State Police arrested Balbi and Lara during a routine traffic stop in January 2012 and found 87 U.S. Treasury tax refund checks made out to other people.

Lara and Balbi previously pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, conspiracy and theft of government property.



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