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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dublin Woman Charged With Filing False Claims With IRS

OAKLAND, Calif. – Denise LaShawn Reed, aka Brooke Nicholson, aka Lauren Roberts, aka Denise Berry, aka Savana Jones, aka Neyce Roberts was arrested yesterday morning on charges related to a false tax refund scheme, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Jose M. Martinez announced.

According to the indictment, between January 2009 and February 2010, Reed, of Dublin, Calif., presented claims to the IRS for refunds of taxes that she knew to be false, fictitious and fraudulent. Reed made the claims by preparing and presenting U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, Forms 1040, in the names of other individuals. Reed, who knew she was not entitled to the requested refunds, was charged with 14 counts of filing false claims for refunds of taxes totaling $97,002.

Reed made her initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu, in Oakland, and was release on a $50,000 bond. Her next scheduled court appearance is Feb. 14, 2013.

The maximum penalty for each count of filing false claims, in violation of Title 18, United States 287, is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Cynthia Stier is the Assistant United States Attorney who is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

In response to these types of cases, the Justice Department’s Tax Division issued a new directive to further the efforts of the Tax Division and help U.S. Attorneys’ Offices respond quickly and effectively to the challenges in stolen identity refund fraud (SIRF) cases. To further this goal, Tax Division Directive 144, which took effect on Oct. 1, 2012, was issued to streamline the process for prosecuting these offenses.

(Reed indictment )