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FORMER WHATCOM COUNTY WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN CONNECTION WITH CONSPIRACY, TAX FRAUD, BANK FRAUD, WIRE FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT
Allegedly Stole the Identities of Family Members and Tax Return Prep Customers to Commit Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 14, 2007

KANDI ROSE ROBERTS, aka KANDI KROON, 38, of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, False Claims to the IRS, Fraudulent Use of Another Person’s Identification, Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Fraud and Related Activity with an Access Device. ROBERTS is scheduled to be sentenced on June 18, 2007, by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart

According to the plea agreement, ROBERTS and her husband Ernest M. Roberts, 49, of Bellingham, Washington, were involved in a conspiracy between 2002 and 2004, to defraud the United States by submitting fraudulent tax returns in the names of others. ROBERTS then collected more than $40,000 in tax refunds to which she was not entitled.

In addition to the scheme to defraud the IRS, the couple also conspired to commit Bank Fraud. The couple made use of personally identifying information of family members and others who had used KANDI ROBERTS’ tax preparation services. Using that information they opened bank and credit accounts. They forged checks on accounts belonging to family members and ran up large credit card bills in the names of family members and others. Some of the charges occurred even after one victim had died. ROBERTS deposited forged checks into her bank account from the line of credit on her widowed mother’s home. She then diverted mail containing repayment notices, and the mortgage company initiated foreclosure proceedings. The total Bank and Wire fraud is estimated to exceed $75,000.

Ernest Roberts entered a guilty plea last week to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Making False Claims to the IRS, Fraudulent Use of Another’s ID, and Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud. Ernest Roberts is also scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on June 18, 2007.

Conspiracy is punishable by up to five years in prison. Bank Fraud and Wire Fraud are punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Access Device Fraud is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Fraudulent Use of Another Person’s Identification is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. False Claims to the IRS is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Warma.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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