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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thornton Woman Indicted For Aiding And Assisting In The Preparation Of False Tax Returns

DENVER – Geraldine Juanita Sotelo, age 64, of Thornton, Colorado, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on January 28, 2014 on charges of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, the United States Attorney’s Office and IRS – Criminal Investigation announced.  The indictment remained under seal until Sotelo made her initial appearance on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Denver.  At that hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer advised the defendant of her rights as well as the charges pending against her.  She was also arraigned and then released on bond.  A tentative trial date of April 14, 2014 has been set.

According to the indictment, from February 2008 continuing through March 2008, Geraldine Sotelo willfully aided and assisted in, procured, counseled, and advised, in the preparation and presentation of six 2007 Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns for various taxpayers. The tax returns were fraudulent and false in that they included claims for credits for child and dependent care expenses, child tax credits, personal property taxes paid, gifts to charity paid by cash or check, and unreimbursed employee expenses. This fraudulent tax returns gave certain taxpayers credits who were not entitled to receive them, did not make the described payments or did not have unreimbursed employee expenses which all fraudulently reduced the taxpayer’s income. 

Sotelo continued a similar pattern in 2009 and 2010 during tax filing season by assisting or preparing ten 2008 and ten 2009 Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns for various taxpayers.  The tax returns were fraudulent and false as they included expenses and credits as mentioned above and further including business losses, medical and dental expenses for which the taxpayers were not entitled to which also fraudulently reduced they taxpayer’s income.

“We all have a responsibility to file our tax returns accurately, and not to take fraudulent advantage of our fellow taxpayers,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “Filing false tax returns not only hurts the American taxpayer, it is also a crime with serious consequences.”

"As we approach tax filing season, this is a reminder taxpayers should choose carefully when hiring a tax preparer.  In the end the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for their tax liability,” said Stephen Boyd, Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office.   For tips on Choosing a Tax Professional go to www.irs.gov .

Sotelo was charged with 26 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, which carries a penalty of not more than 3 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $100,000 per count.

This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. 

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Updated June 22, 2015