California Woman Indicted for Allegedly Impersonating a Congressional Aide
WASHINGTON – An Atwater, Calif., woman was charged today in a one-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of California for impersonation of an officer or an employee of the United States, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
The indictment charges Susan Tomsha-Miguel, 51. An initial appearance and arraignment are scheduled for tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Beck.
According to the indictment, Tomsha-Miguel operated a tax consulting and bookkeeping business in Atwater. A client, who owned a commercial business in Merced, Calif., hired Tomsha-Miguel to resolve a tax dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Tomsha-Miguel requested help with the tax problems from the office of U.S. Representative Dennis A. Cardoza, who represents the 18th Congressional District, which includes Merced County, as well as parts of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Madera and Fresno Counties. According to the indictment, Representative Cardoza’s office agreed to help, and transmitted written material, including a form printed under his official Congressional letterhead, to Tomsha-Miguel. Some time thereafter, Tomsha-Miguel allegedly sent her client a counterfeit letter supposedly written under Representative Cardoza’s official letterhead and purportedly written and signed by an aide to Representative Cardoza. The letter falsely claimed that due to Tomsha-Miguel’s efforts on behalf of her client, Representative Cardoza’s aide had contacted an IRS official. The counterfeit letter claimed that the IRS official had agreed to make resolving the client’s tax dispute his “number one priority” after he returned from “Washington, D.C. for an emergency strategy meeting with the U.S. Treasury Secretary and others for a planning session in the event a budget does not get passed by both the House and Senate.” The indictment alleges that, in reality, the aide did not exist and Tomsha-Miguel had forged the letterhead by copying-and-pasting Representative Cardoza’s official letterhead onto a blank sheet of paper. The indictment further alleges that Tomsha-Miguel had written the letter from the non-existent aide herself and then sent it to her client in order to mislead her client into believing that she had succeeded in alleviating his tax problems.
Tomsha-Miguel faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and supervised release.
An indictment is merely a charge, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Barak Cohen of the Public Integrity Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. The case is being investigated by the FBI.