News

Eighth Defendant in D.C. Property Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Pleads Guilty


For Over 16 Years, Deposited Nearly $9 Million in Fraudulently Obtained D.C. Government Checks and Cash Into Joint Account Held With Her Husband, a Former IRS Employee; Used Funds to Purchase at Least Four Jaguars, Two Residences and Jewelry Worth Over $150,000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2008

Greenbelt, Maryland - Patricia A. Steven, age 73, of Harwood, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to receipt of stolen property and conspiracy to commit money laundering 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. As part of her plea agreement, Steven agreed to a money judgment of $8,833,310.32 and, in order to satisfy such money judgment, to forfeit three Jaguar cars, two residences, jewelry and monies held in four bank accounts.

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, “This case is especially egregious because Patricia Steven spent over 16 years laundering almost $9 million into a bank account she controlled with her husband, a former IRS employee. We will seek the forfeiture of all criminal proceeds and property purchased with stolen money because victims deserve restitution and criminals must not be permitted to profit from their crimes.”

According to her plea agreement, Patricia Steven met a conspirator in the mid-1970s. In the late 1980s, the conspirator proposed that Steven deposit a check drawn on a District of Columbia government bank account and made payable to Patricia Steven. The conspirator explained that Steven would be allowed to keep a portion of the proceeds from the check, but would have to return a substantial portion to the conspirator. Despite knowing that the conspirator obtained the check fraudulently, Steven agreed and deposited the first check.

In the following 16 years, from June 1990 to November 2007, Patricia Steven and the conspirator continued this arrangement. Patricia Steven and the conspirator made a total of 72 check or cash deposits into an account controlled by Patricia Steven and her husband, former IRS employee Robert Steven. The individual checks and amounts of cash that were deposited ranged in amounts from initial deposits over $3,559 each, to subsequent deposits of up to $490,000.

Patricia Steven transferred at least $1,162,750 of these funds to Robert Steven, and at least $344,700 to the conspirator. Using these funds, Patricia and Robert Steven purchased at least four Jaguar cars, at least two residential properties, and diamonds and other jewelry worth over $150,000.

Patricia Steven admits that the loss amount associated with her conduct is between $7 million and $20 million.

Patricia Steven faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for receipt of stolen property and 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the transactions involved, whichever is greater, for conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. has scheduled her sentencing for November 10, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.

Robert Steven, age 55, of Edgewater; Samuel Earl Pope, age 61, of Washington, D.C.; Connie Alexander, age 52, and Richard Walters, age 49, both of Bowie, Maryland; Walter Jones, age 33, of Essex, Maryland; Marilyn Yoon, age 40, of Derwood, Maryland; and Ricardo R. Walters, age 33, of Ft. Washington, Maryland, have pleaded guilty in connection with the property tax refund scheme. Robert Steven, Ricardo Walters, Richard Walters and Alexander each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for receipt of stolen property and 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering at their sentencing on September 8, July 23, September 8 and 25, 2008, respectively. Samuel Pope faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy and for mail fraud. Walter Jones faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the transactions involved, whichever is greater, for conspiracy to commit money laundering at his sentencing on September 11, 2008. Marilyn Yoon faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for possession of property obtained by fraud at her sentencing on September 12, 2008.

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 Attorneys Jonathan Su and Deborah Johnston from the District of Maryland and Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy Lynch and David Johnson from the District of Columbia, who are prosecuting the case.

 

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