Anchorage Woman Indicted for Making False Tax Claims Against the Government
Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Pepe Anetipa, 58, was indicted on 28 counts of making false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims against the government. According to the indictment, for tax year 2011, Pepe Anetipa filed falsified tax returns claiming total refunds of at least $202,859.00. Anetipa was arrested in Washington State on December 2, 2014, and arraigned in federal court in Anchorage, on December 18, 2014. She pleaded not guilty. Trial is set for February 9, 2015.
According to the Indictment, Anetipa moved from American Samoa to Anchorage, Alaska, in approximately July 2011. Anetipa obtained a State of Alaska business license on February 6, 2012, for Triple-H Tax and Services. Citizens of the United States Territory of American Samoa are issued social security numbers by the Social Security Administration; however, they are not required to file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service if all of their income was derived from sources in American Samoa.
Allegedly, Anetipa used wage information and tax withholding reported to residents of American Samoa on a “Form W-2AS American Samoa Wage and Tax Statement” and transferred the information to a regular “Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement”. Anetipa also changed the addresses on the Forms W-2 to be either Texas or Alaska addresses instead of the Pago Pago, American Samoa addresses. The altered Forms W-2 gave the tax returns the false appearance that the income was earned in the United States rather than America Samoa and that federal tax withholding was paid into the U.S. system. Anetipa then submitted the altered Forms W-2 with tax returns she prepared. Anetipa submitted these false tax returns knowing that none of the individuals who had tax returns prepared by Anetipa earned wages outside of America Samoa. The refund claims were materially false because, in fact, no federal taxes had been withheld, no credits were due, and therefore no refund was due and owing.
An indictment is merely an accusation of charges and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Making false claims against the government carries a sentence of up to five years for each false return.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Bradley of the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).