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Justice News

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Delaware Woman Sentenced To 51 Months In PrisonFor $1.7 Million Tax Fraud And Identity Theft Scheme

WILMINGTON, Del. - Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Dawn Chamberlain, age 36, of Claymont, Delaware, was sentenced today by the Honorable Leonard P. Stark, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, to 51 months imprisonment and full restitution.  The sentence follows Chamberlain’s plea of guilty to violations of 18 USC § 286 (False Claims Conspiracy) and 18 USC § 1341 (Mail Fraud). 

From 2009 through 2012, Chamberlain prepared nearly 450 false and fraudulent U.S. Individual Federal Income Tax Returns for clients she solicited in Delaware and elsewhere.  In the returns, the defendant claimed an average of approximately $3,500 in fraudulent credits.  She often claimed the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit for clients who were not eligible for those credits.  The defendant’s actions are estimated to have caused at least $1.5 million in losses to the United States Department of Treasury.

The defendant also stole from her own clients.  She kept a portion of their refunds without their consent, and she used her clients’ names, dates of birth, and social security numbers to file more than $210,000 in false and fraudulent New York State Resident income tax returns.  Her clients did not live or work in New York.  The defendant did not share any of the New York tax refunds with her clients. 

U.S. Attorney Oberly stated:  “This case should send a clear signal that individuals who file false claims against the United States Treasury will be prosecuted.  I am committed to working with the Internal Revenue Service to pursue these cases and seek incarceration wherever possible.”

“The American tax system is designed to provide vital government services to our people. It is not a slush fund for thieves and fraudsters,” said Akeia Conner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “This sentence today declares that those who illegally target our nation’s tax dollars for personal financial gain, along with others who assist them, are themselves potential targets for criminal prosecution."

“Taxpayers put their trust in paid tax preparers – and the defendant willfully violated that trust,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox.  “In doing so, she not only stole tax refunds from the State of New York, she victimized innocent people who called on her to help them meet their tax obligations.”

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, with the investigative assistance and cooperation of the State of New York.  The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Paxton, District of Delaware.
Updated July 14, 2015