Los Angeles Man Convicted in Tax Fraud Scheme that Sought over $800,000 in Refunds for ‘Employees’ of Bogus Companies
SANTA ANA, California – A Los Angeles man who participated in a scheme that filed fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service seeking more than $800,000 in refunds was found guilty today of federal charges.
Julien Jitt Noel, 36, who lived in Placentia while he participated in the scheme, was convicted this morning of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent tax returns. After a five-day trial, a jury in United States District Court deliberated for approximately one hour before finding Noel guilty.
The evidence presented at trial showed that, starting in late 2008 or early 2009, Noel and two co-conspirators prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns, most of which were filed in the names of individuals whose identities had been stolen.
The fraudulent tax returns indicated that the taxpayers were employed by a shell company called Picaso Fashions, a business that did not employ the taxpayers and never had any employees. The tax returns indicated that Picaso Fashions had excessively withheld income tax for each taxpayer, and each fraudulently filed tax return sought a tax refund the taxpayer was not entitled to receive.
Members of the conspiracy filed 69 false individual federal tax returns during 2009 that claimed tax refunds totaling $621,589.
Noel and one of his co-conspirators established other fake companies to serve as fraudulent employers. In relation to these other bogus companies, Noel filed 45 fraudulent tax returns in 2009 and 2010 that sought $195,344 in refunds.
In total, Noel conspired to file a total of 114 fraudulent returns between 2009 and 2010 seeking tax refunds totaling $816,933. The IRS paid full or partial tax refunds on 98 of these returns and suffered actual losses of $520,426.
Noel, who has been in federal custody since this case was indicted two years ago, is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton on June 14. As a result of today’s six guilty verdicts, Noel faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Co-conspirator Antonio Jerome Cook, 38, of Long Beach, was sentenced in March 2016 to four years in federal in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $537,309 for his role in the scheme.
The third conspirator – Rebecca Magruder, 38, of Dallas, Texas – was sentenced in January of 2016 to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $119,671 in restitution.
The investigation into Noel, Cook and Magruder was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Aron Ketchel and Jamie A. Lang.