April 27, 2010
ALLEGED TAX FRAUD CONSPIRATORS INDICTED
(LAREDO, Texas) - Jacqueline L. Velasquez, and her daughter, Minerva J. Bentley, along with Eloisa Garcia Casso, and Rosa Herrera, have all been arrested on bench warrants arising from a sealed indictment which alleges they aided and assisted one another in the preparation of false and fraudulent income tax returns and conspiracy to defraud the U.S., United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
The sealed indictment, returned Tuesday, April 13, 2010, by a Laredo federal grand jury and unsealed today following their arrests by agents with the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), charges the defendants conspired to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns from 2001 through 2005. According to allegations in the indictment, Jacqueline L. Velasquez operated an informal tax return preparation business from her Laredo, Texas, residence. Acting under the supervision and direction of Velasquez, who was assisted by Bentley, the defendants allegedly filed tax returns and received refunds on behalf of unknowing victims whose personal identifying information was stolen by Casso and Herrera, employees at the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Laredo Housing Authority, respectively, at the time of the alleged offense. Both are no longer employed at the respective agencies. Additional charges include allegations that Velasquez and Casso aided and assisted in the preparation of U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, Forms 1040, which were false and fraudulent in material matters in that they represented that taxpayers were entitled to claim specified amounts which they knew were false. The defendants, according to the indictment, submitted multiple materially false income tax returns and used numerous different bank accounts for the deposit of the fraudulently obtained funds, intending to claim false tax refunds in excess of $175,000 for the tax years 2001, 2002 and 2003.
All four defendants will remain in custody pending their initial federal court appearances tomorrow, April 28, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Saldaña.
If convicted of the conspiracy, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by IRS-CI and the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael C. Elliott.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.
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