United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Second Woman Sentenced For $1.3 Million Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Nakia Renee Vaughn, 27, of Sacramento, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to five years and 10 months 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 Vaughn 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, 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.
According to court documents, Vaughn and co-defendants Nadiyah Muhammad Woods, 33, and Tomisha Lee McKinnie, 25, 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.
“Claiming a tax refund to which one knows he or she is not entitled is stealing from the taxpayers of this country,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “This office will continue to prosecute those who file false tax returns and to seek restitution of their ill-gotten gains.”
“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.”
Earlier, on November 14, 2012, co-defendant McKinnie was sentenced to 60 months in federal custody to be followed by 3 years on federal supervision. McKinnie was also ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $962,079. A third defendant in the fraudulent tax scheme, Nadiyah Mohammad Woods, is scheduled to be sentenced on January 23, 2013. She faces 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. Her 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.