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News Release
U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island

July 15, 2013

Providence Barber Shop Manager Pleads Guilty to
Embezzling More than $230,000 in Federal Tax Refunds

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Leticia Gonzalez, 40, of Providence, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on Friday to embezzling more than $230,000 from stolen federal tax checks she deposited into a business account she manages at a Providence barber shop, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Phil Hall, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Boston office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and Brian S. Deck, Acting Resident Agent in Charge of the Providence Office of the U.S. Secret Service.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Ms. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property, admitting that between April 2011 and May 2012, she deposited thirty-eight United States Treasury checks totaling more than $200,000 into the barber shop account.  In addition, Gonzalez admitted that at least four electronic tax refunds in the names of third parties were deposited into bank accounts she controlled. The total amount of Treasury funds fraudulently converted by Ms. Gonzalez is approximately $231,065.

According to information presented to the court, an analysis of the bank account revealed that approximately $128,000 in cash was withdrawn from the account during the same period.  In addition numerous purchases were made at various retail establishments in the Providence area.

According to information presented to the court, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent examined a random sample of ten tax returns associated with the refund checks; all ten were determined to be associated with fraudulent income tax returns, using false W-2 information and the names and social security numbers of people living in Puerto Rico.  The IRS agent contacted each of the employers listed on the Forms W-2, and in every instance the employer confirmed that the listed person never worked at their company.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced on October 2, 2013. Theft of government property is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison; 3 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.

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To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/

 

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