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Press Release

Benicia Woman Sentenced to Prison for Tax Fraud

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sherrell Davis, 43, of Benicia, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $210,320 in restitution for submitting false claims for tax refunds, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. Davis was ordered to surrender to start serving her sentence on October 20, 2017.

According to court documents, from February 2011 through May 2013, Davis repeatedly engaged in tax fraud by submitting over 50 fraudulent claims for tax refunds in the names of other people to the Internal Revenue Service. The tax returns used fraudulent W-2 tax forms listing false wages and false withholdings in order to generate tax refunds to which the people named on the returns were not entitled. The fraudulent returns also claimed tax credits to which the taxpayers were not entitled, including the Earned Income Credit, the American Opportunity Credit, and the Making Work Pay Credit. In furtherance of her tax fraud scheme, Davis took over bank accounts in the name of another person and used those accounts to receive proceeds from the fraud.. In all, Davis submitted fraudulent tax returns seeking over $350,000 in tax refunds, of which at least $210,320 were paid out by the IRS.

“We want everyone who files a tax return to take advantage of the deductions and credits to which they are entitled by law, however, no one is entitled to defraud the United States and the American taxpayers,” said Michael T. Batdorf, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “For approximately three years, Ms. Davis repeatedly filed numerous false income tax returns with the IRS claiming refunds based on false information. IRS CI will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns to claim refunds to which they are not entitled.”

Attempted tax refund fraud has been a significant problem in recent years, leading to increased efforts by the IRS and IRS Criminal Investigation to combat it. For example, the IRS has estimated that from 2011 through October 2014, it stopped 19 million suspicious returns and blocked more than $63 billion in fraudulent refunds. Many such tax refund fraud schemes depend on the use of stolen identities. For more information about tax-related identity theft, including warning signs, how to reduce your risk, and what to do if you suspect you have become a victim, visit the IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft at

This case was the product of an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher S. Hales prosecuted the case.

Updated August 25, 2017

Press Release Number: 2:16-cr-072-GEB