FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
DECEMBER 20, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TWO MORE SUSPECTS, INCLUDING A MARYLAND IRS EMPLOYEE, CHARGED IN D.C. PROPERTY TAX REFUND FRAUD SCHEME
Continuing Investigation Has Resulted in 10 Defendants Charged to Date in Fraud Scheme
Greenbelt, Maryland - IRS employee Robert O. Steven, age 54, of Edgewater, Maryland, and Patricia A. Steven, age 72, of Harwood, Maryland, were arrested early this morning and charged by complaint with receipt of stolen property in connection with a property tax refund scheme in which millions of dollars were stolen from the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jeffrey A. Taylor.
“Agents and prosecutors in Washington, D.C. and Maryland are working diligently to trace every dollar that was stolen from the D.C. Tax Office. My advice to anyone who profited from this scheme is to call the FBI today, and don’t wait for us to contact you,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
Special Agent in Charge, Francis L. Turner, IRS, Criminal Investigation stated, "Crimes committed by public officials violate the public trust. Part of IRS-CI's mission is to assure honest taxpayers that EVERYONE pays their fair share."
According to the affidavit supporting the complaints and arrest warrants, Robert Steven has been employed with the IRS since 1975. His current position is Division Director, Modernization Information Technology Systems, and his office is located at the IRS National Office in New Carrollton, Maryland.
According to the affidavit, federal agents sought authority to execute search warrants at the IRS National Office in New Carrollton, Maryland and at residences in Edgewater and Harwood. The affidavit reports that law enforcement agents have been tracking one of Robert Steven’s vehicles and reviewing bank statements and other records.
The affidavit alleges that at least 11 checks totaling $2,849,720.73 issued as part of the scheme were deposited into a bank account owned by Robert Steven and used by Patricia Steven. Six of these checks have included “Patricia A. Steven” or a variant of this name, as a payee, and four of the checks have listed “Bellarmine” as a payee. As to one of the checks, on June 30, 2006, co-defendant Harriette M. Walters allegedly authorized a voucher which called for a refund of real property taxes to “Bellarmine Home LLC, c/o Wilkes, Artis Esq.” in the amount of $490,000. On July 10, 2006 a check for that amount was deposited into the bank account owned by Robert Steven and used by Patricia Steven.
According to the affidavit, Robert Steven, whose annual salary is $143,471, purchased four Jaguar cars between 2003 and the present for a total of $257,866, the most recent being a 2007 Jaguar convertible for $96,770.95.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. They are scheduled to have their initial appearances today in federal district court in Greenbelt at 2:30 p.m.
A complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
The investigation is continuing.
United States Attorneys Rod J. Rosenstein and Jeffrey A. Taylor thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; the Inspector General’s Office for the District of Columbia; the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, Criminal Investigation Division; the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration; and the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Integrity and Oversight for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Su and Deborah Johnston from the District of Maryland and Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy Lynch and Geoffrey Carter from the District of Columbia, who are prosecuting the case.