United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Sacramento Woman Sentenced for $1.3 Million Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Docket #: 2:12-cr-075-KJM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller sentenced Tomisha Lee McKinnie, 25, of Sacramento, today to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in a scheme to file false tax returns, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Judge Mueller also ordered McKinnie to pay $962,079 in restitution.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the Department of Treasury, the Office of the Inspector General for Tax Administration, with the cooperation of the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.
“Filing false tax returns is a violation of Federal Tax laws. This sentence sends a clear message that such schemes result in significant jail time,” according to Marcus Williams, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS CI will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns to claim refunds to which they are not entitled.”
Oscar Villanueva, Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service, San Francisco Division, stated: “The Postal Inspection Service is steadfast in its commitment to ensure the U.S. Mail system will not be utilized in furtherance of schemes to defraud postal customers, taxpayers, or federal and state agencies.”
According to court documents, McKinnie and co-defendants Nadiyah Muhammad Woods, 33, and Nakia Renee Vaughn, 26, also of Sacramento, conspired to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns using TurboTax, a commercial Internet tax-filing service. To obtain money from the false tax return filings, the women used a TurboTax service that loaded debit cards with the tax return money after the return is filed and approved. The defendants had the debit cards and checks mailed to various addresses under their control in Sacramento County.
In addition to filing fraudulent tax returns, the defendants posed as victim taxpayers to activate debit cards, cash checks, and obtain cash, goods, and services. The scheme involved over 280 false tax returns and over 200 victim taxpayers. They attempted to obtain $1,366,427, and the IRS actually paid $962,079.Woods and Vaughn have previously pleaded guilty. Vaughn is scheduled to be sentenced on December 5, 2012, and Woods is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12, 2012. They each face up to 10 years in federal prison for the false claim conspiracy, five years in prison for filing false claims, and up to 20 years in prison for participation in the mail fraud scheme. The actual sentence, 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.