WASHINGTON – Robert Eldon Robertson and his wife Esther Lynne Robertson of Manteca, Calif., were indicted on charges of filing two false claims for federal tax refunds, filing liens against the former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) commissioner and impeding the administration of federal tax laws, the Justice Department and IRS announced today. The indictment was unsealed yesterday in the Eastern District of California.
According to the indictment, the Robertsons filed two false federal income tax returns claiming large refunds based on fictitious Form 1099-OID withholdings: one for tax year 2005 claiming a $90,538 refund and one for 2007 claiming a $313,248 refund. The indictment also charges each of the Robertsons with filing a false lien against the property of the IRS commissioner for "a sum certain amount determined as triple the stated amount of any purported determination of tax liability." According to the indictment, the Robertsons also sent a bogus "international promissory note" with a request that the IRS apply the purported $800,000 face value of the note towards their outstanding tax liabilities. The IRS also received a letter containing credit card bills belonging to the Robertsons asking the IRS to pay nearly $20,000 worth of their credit card debt.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, the Robertsons face a maximum of five years in prison for each false claim count, three years for the obstruction count and 10 years for the count of filing false liens.
The case was investigated by both IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Ignacio Perez de la Cruz of the department's Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Segal in the Eastern District of California.