Department of Justice sealALEJANDRO N. MAYORKAS
United States Attorney
Central District of California

Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer
(213) 894-6947

March 2, 2001

 A resident of Rancho Mirage has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for cashing stolen checks and evading the payment of federal taxes, United States Attorney Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced today.
 Michael A. Zapara, 48, was sentenced Monday afternoon by United States District Judge J. Spencer Letts. In addition to the prison term, which Zapara will begin serving on April 30, Judge Letts ordered the defendant to pay $708,900 in restitution to several financial institutions.
 Zapara pleaded guilty in February 1999 to one felony tax count and two counts of bank fraud. In 1995, Zapara deposited counterfeit checks and checks stolen from Universal Studios, Clothestime and other other companies into an account at Great Western Bank and then withdrew the funds by writing checks on the account and by transferring the funds to other accounts he controlled. The stolen checks amounted to $256,000. Zapara also admitted that he evaded income taxes when he failed to report more than $80,000 in income on his 1995 Federal income tax return.
 As a result of her guilty plea to tax fraud for the year 1993, Zapara’s wife, Gina Ann B. Zapara, 51, was sentenced to six months home detention. Mrs. Zapara pleaded guilty to this charge in February 1999, admitting that she did not report all of her income to the IRS on her 1993 tax return.
 The convictions of the Zaparas was the result of an investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

 Release No. 01-041

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