United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Three Sacramento Women Plead Guilty To $1.3 Million Tax Fraud Scheme
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Docket #: CR No. 12-075-KJM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Nadiyah Muhammad Woods, 33; Nakia Renee Vaughn, 26; and Tomisha Lee McKinnie, 24, all of Sacramento, pleaded guilty today to a scheme to get tax refunds by filing false tax returns, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, the Department of the Treasury, Office of Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the United States Postal Inspection Service, with the assistance of the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.
“The harm caused by these defendants goes far beyond simply harming the government. Their conduct not only cheated the government, but had a devastating impact on the victims, whose identities they stole to perpetrate these crimes,” said Rick Goss, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS CI will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns to claim refunds for which they are not entitled.”
Oscar Villanueva, Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service, San Francisco Division, stated: “We are committed to working with the U.S. Attorney's Office and our partners in law enforcement to conduct these types of investigations in order to protect the public from complex fraud schemes.”
According to court documents, Woods, Vaughn, and McKinnie filed false tax returns using TurboTax, an online tax preparation software. To operate the scheme, the defendants obtained Green Dot and other debit cards offered through the TurboTax software that were loaded with the tax refunds of taxpayer victims whose identities they used. They had the tax refunds mailed to various addresses under their control in Sacramento County. The defendants posed as the victims in order to activate the debit cards, cash the checks, and obtain cash, goods, and services. The scheme involved more than 280 false tax returns and more than 200 victim taxpayers. They attempted to obtain $1,366,427 from the IRS, with $962,079 paid by the IRS.
Vaughn and McKinnie are scheduled to be sentenced on August 29, 2012 by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. Woods is scheduled to be sentenced on September 5, 2012. Vaughn and McKinnie are in custody pending sentencing. Woods is on supervised release pending sentencing.
Each defendant faces up to 10 years in federal prison for the false claim conspiracy, five years for filing false claims, and up to 20 years for participation in the mail fraud scheme. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.