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Press Release

Phoenix Woman Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison for $852,000 Embezzlement Scheme, Filing a False Tax Return, And Failure to Appear In Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

     PHOENIX - On May 11, 2018, Tara Kathleen Valencia, 38, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Diane J. Humetewa to 51 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. Valencia had previously pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, wire fraud, and failure to appear in court (bail jumping). Valencia was also ordered to pay $852,253 in restitution.

     Between 2006 and 2012, Valencia had been employed in Phoenix by Arizona Exterminating Company (AEC) as the HR Administrator. During this time, she embezzled $852,253 from the company by using business credit cards and checks for her own personal use. Some of her unlawful personal expenses included a home, medical and insurance expenses, food, maid services, salon and fitness expenses, home renovations, and a swimming pool and spa for her personal residence. Valencia concealed her scheme to defraud by doctoring credit card and checking account records to make it appear as if these expenses were legitimate expenses incurred by the company.

     In addition, Valencia filed false federal income tax returns for the 2008 through 2011 tax years wherein she failed to report her proceeds from the scheme to defraud.

     Following her arrest on the indictment on July 20, 2015, Valencia was released on her own personal recognizance to reappear in Court, as required. In the Fall of 2015, Valencia fled to Mexico where she remained a fugitive from justice. The U.S. Marshals Service eventually located Valencia in Mexico where she was arrested by the Mexican authorities on Nov. 5, 2017, and was returned to the United States.

     Valencia was ordered to pay $852,253 in restitution to AEC and $252,806 to the Internal Revenue Service in back income taxes plus penalties and interest.

     This investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation in Tucson, the United States Postal Inspection Service in Tucson, and the U.S. Marshals Service in Phoenix. The prosecution was handled by Wallace H. Kleindienst and Carolyn Nedder, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.


CASE NUMBERS:         CR 15-0314-PHX-DJH/CR 16-1097-PHX-DJH  

RELEASE NUMBER:    2018-065_Valencia



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Updated May 15, 2018

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 2018-065_Valencia / CR 15-0314-PHX-DJH/CR 16-1097-PHX-DJH