Two Tax Preparers Plead Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Tax Fraud And Identity Theft Conspiracy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 10, 2012
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Toni Weirauch, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced that DOLORES TEJADA and NORMA JIMENEZ, Manhattan-based tax preparers, pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to charges related to their participation in a scheme to file false tax returns using stolen identities. TEJADA and JIMENEZ pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Dolores Tejada and Norma Jimenez were full-service fraudsters – furnishing stolen identities to their clients, preparing their fraudulent tax returns, and in some cases, even cashing their refund checks. To top it off, Tejada attempted to obstruct the investigation. Identity theft-related tax refund fraud victimizes the people whose identities are stolen, costs the IRS hundreds of millions of dollars every year, and is unfair to all the law abiding citizens who pay their fair share of taxes, and it will not be tolerated.”
IRS-CI Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Toni Weirauch stated: “IRS Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft top priorities. The filing of fraudulent tax returns using stolen names and social security numbers can result in significant harm to those individuals whose identities were stolen, as well as a monetary loss for the U.S. Treasury and thus, the taxpaying public.”
According to the Superseding Indictment filed in this case, statements made during the plea proceedings, and other court documents filed in Manhattan federal court:
TEJADA and JIMENEZ ran tax preparation and multiservice businesses out of the same storefront building. In one of their joint fraud schemes, TEJADA sold stolen identities belonging to third-parties to customers at her business, and the customers would then list those third-parties as dependents or childcare providers on their tax returns. TEJADA would then send the customers to JIMENEZ’s business, Coastland Insurance, for the preparation of false tax returns claiming deductions for the fraudulent dependents and childcare providers. In another fraud scheme, JIMENEZ prepared tax returns in the names of individuals without their knowledge, using a private mailbox owned and maintained by TEJADA as the return address. The resulting refund checks were then cashed.
TEJADA also obstructed the investigation of her crimes by threatening a former customer and repeatedly instructing him to lie to IRS agents.
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TEJADA, 59, pled guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit tax fraud, and one count of witness tampering. She faces a maximum sentence of 27 years in prison and a minimum sentence of two years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon on January 24, 2013 at 2:45 p.m.
JIMENEZ, 58, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit tax fraud and 30 substantive counts of tax fraud. She faces a maximum sentence of 95 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge McMahon on January 24, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative efforts of the IRS-CI, and also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division for their assistance.
If you think you have been a victim of tax-related identity theft, go to www.irs.gov
for contact information and additional resources.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Martin S. Bell is in charge of the prosecution.