Three members of an Allentown group accused in an identity theft scam to steal more than $700,000 from the Internal Revenue Service appeared in federal court this week and two were sentenced to prison terms.

Jose Peralta and Fayez Antonios were each sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III. Peralta was ordered to serve two years in a federal prison followed by three years of supervised release, plus a $500 fine.

Antonios was sentenced to 13 months behind bars, three years of supervised release and a $400 fine.

The men each pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, conspiracy and making false statements.

Peralta's father, Liberado Peralta, pleaded guilty to identical charges Tuesday and will be sentenced in November. He faces a maximum sentence of 18 years behind bars and a $1.25 million fine.

The men were arrested in January along with Florentina "Cindy" Peralta, Liberado's daughter and Jose's sister. Prosecutors say the group took part in a sophisticated scheme that involved stealing the identities of Puerto Rican residents and using them to file 111 false tax returns.

Florentina Peralta pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to three years in a federal prison followed by a year of supervised release.

All the defendants are required to pay full restitution, court records say.

The scam capitalized on a provision in the tax code under which residents of Puerto Rico are only required to file taxes if they earn income in the mainland United States.

Prosecutors said the group conspired with persons not named in court records to obtain the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of people who live in Puerto Rico. They then used the stolen information to prepare tax returns with Allentown addresses, requesting that tax checks be mailed to those homes.

Between March and April 2012, the group sent in 111 returns seeking $702,583 in returns. The IRS issued at least 40 refund checks totaling $255,704 before the scam was uncovered, court records say.

Antonios and the Peraltas were paid $500 per check; their job was to provide Allentown addresses, retrieve the checks and forward them to unnamed co-conspirators who deposited them.

The group funneled tax returns and refund anticipation loan checks through Antonios' businesses, Ace Home Solutions LCC in Allentown and Catty Check Cashing in Catasauqua, as well as Florentina Peralta's business, Alta Check Cashing in Emmaus.

Nneka Sutherland, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office, said she was unaware of any other arrests in the case.

lmason@mcall.com

Twitter @LehighCourts

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