Personal Shopper Sentenced in D.C. Property Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. sentenced Marilyn Yoon, age 40, of Derwood, Maryland, today to a year and a day in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possession of property obtained by fraud in connection with a property tax refund scheme in which over $48 million 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. Judge Williams also ordered that Yoon pay restitution of $526,130.
According to her plea agreement, Yoon first met Harriette Walters while working as a sales consultant at a high end leather goods store and then as a personal shopper at a luxury department store in Tysons Corner, Virginia where Walters shopped. As their friendship continued, Walters provided monetary gifts to Yoon between June 2005 and May 2006 totaling approximately $251,130.
In February 2007, Harriette Walters gave Yoon a fraudulently obtained District of Columbia government check for $483,940 and instructed Yoon to deposit the check into Yoon’s bank account. When Yoon attempted to do so, the bank did not accept the deposit because the names of the owner of the account and the payee did not match. In May of 2007, Harriette Walters gave Yoon a second fraudulently obtained government check made payable to a business owned by Yoon’s husband in the amount of $275,000. Yoon successfully deposited the check into the bank account of her husband’s business.
In June 2007, Harriette Walters directed Yoon to use the funds from the $275,000 check to send a $125,000 cashier’s check payable to a plumbing business owned by Harriette Walters’ brother, Richard Walters. Although Yoon believed that the $275,000 check was the proceeds of fraud, Yoon nevertheless issued the cashier’s check, and used the remaining $150,000 to make a personal loan to a family member and remodel her home.
Harriette M. Walters, age 52, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy; 10 years for District of Columbia tax evasion; five years for federal tax evasion; and an order to pay restitution in the amount of $48,115,419.09. U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Emmet G. Sullivan has scheduled her sentencing for March 25, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. Alethia O. Grooms, age 52, of Clinton, Maryland and Samuel Earl Pope, age 61, of Washington, D.C. also pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme. Judge Sullivan scheduled their sentencing for February 24 and 26, 2009.
Jayrece Turnbull, age 34, of Bowie, Maryland, who is Harriette Walters’ niece, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore to her participation in this tax refund scheme in which she deposited over $24 million in fraudulently obtained government checks into accounts she controlled. She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for receipt of stolen property, 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering, 30 years for mail fraud and five years for tax evasion. Judge Williams has scheduled her sentencing for February 4, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.
Judge Williams sentenced former IRS employee Robert O. Steven, age 55, of Edgewater, Maryland, to 46 months in prison; his wife Patricia A. Steven, age 73, of Harwood, Maryland, to 70 months in prison; Ricardo R. Walters, age 33, of Ft. Washington, Maryland, to 78 months in prison; and Richard Walters, age 49, of Bowie, Maryland, to 51 months in prison, all for receipt of stolen property and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with this scheme.
Walter Jones, age 33, of Essex, Maryland, and Connie Alexander, age 53, of Bowie, Maryland have also pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme. Walter Jones faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering at his sentencing on January 5, 2009. Alexander faces 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 her sentencing scheduled by Judge Williams for February 12, 2009.
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.