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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

California Resident Sentenced to Prison in Fraudulent Refund and Stolen Treasury Check Scheme

Conspiracy Used Information from California Death Records to Seek Tax Refunds

A Los Angeles, California woman was sentenced to 65 months in prison for her role in a conspiracy to cash stolen and fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California.


Janel McDonald, 38, was convicted in March of conspiring to commit theft of public money, theft of public money and aggravated identity theft. McDonald was charged, along with 10 co-defendants, in November 2015. According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, from August 2013 through April 2015, McDonald’s co-conspirators stole deceased individuals’ personal identifying information from California death records and used it to file federal tax returns seeking refunds. They also obtained social security and refund checks that were stolen from the U.S. mail system. McDonald provided fake California IDs to her co-conspirators who used them to cash the stolen and fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks. McDonald caused a tax loss of approximately $471,000.


In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White ordered McDonald to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $471,961 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Stretch thanked special agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Newman and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose Olivera and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.


Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.

Press Release Number: 
Updated August 1, 2017