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Perez gets prison for violating IRS-scam case probation

A Key West woman who pleaded guilty last year in a 2010 jail IRS hoax will spend 10 months in prison for violating her probation in that case, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Sandra Perez, née Suarez, must pay 50 percent of any wages she earns working in prison programs to pay off $33,010 she owes the government in the jail scam, according to U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez's order.

Martinez also ordered Perez, who is pregnant, to spend two years on supervised release after prison, when she must pay 10 percent of her gross monthly earnings toward the debt, according to court documents.

She is to report for prison Feb. 14 at the federal courthouse on Simonton Street. Court records did not indicate if Perez's pregnancy was a factor in the timing.

Perez was previously sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to pay $33,010 restitution on the Jan. 25, 2011, charge of conspiracy to file false, fictitious and fraudulent claims regarding the IRS-jail case.

Martinez ruled Monday that Perez violated her probation by getting arrested and not paying the court-ordered $25 a month restitution fee for four months.

Perez was arrested again on Oct. 24 last year on new charges of seven counts of forgery, seven counts of uttering a forged instrument, fraudulent use of a credit card and grand theft while employed by Key Iron Works on Stock Island.

She walked out of federal court Monday charged with 12 counts of fraud, use or possession of an ID without consent and one count of fraud, illegal use of credit cards, according to Sheriff's Office records.

Shortly after she was hired by Key Iron Works, she reportedly began forging checks and cashing them, according to offense reports.

Perez is a member of the Suarez family, which was involved in a scheme to defraud the IRS through county jail inmates submitting bogus tax returns.

Her uncle, former Key West Public Works Superintendent Gilbert Suarez, was sentenced to 3¬½ years in state prison in April 2011 for violating his state probation on stealing money from Key West parking meters.

He was acquitted in the IRS case, but because he had been arrested again, violated the terms of his state parole in the coin case.

Federal prosecutors said Gilbert's brother, Danilo Suarez, was one of the ringleaders in the IRS scheme at the Stock Island jail. A federal judge in Miami in January 2011 sentenced Danilo Suarez to five years' prison and ordered him to pay $58,000 restitution.

Perez was given a plea agreement earlier by prosecutors in exchange for her testimony in the federal IRS case.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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