Skip to main content
Press Release

Former IRS Employee Indicted for Theft of Public Funds, Conspiring to Defraud United States

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

FRESNO, Calif. — A former IRS employee was arraigned Wednesday in Fresno on an indictment charging her with conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of public funds, and unauthorized access of computer information, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

On October 8, 2015, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Maria Mora, 55, of Fresno, and her ex-husband, Uriel Perez, 51, of Spring, Texas. Both defendants were arrested Wednesday. Mora pleaded not guilty, and a status conference is scheduled for December 14, 2015. Perez was charged with five counts of theft of public funds, and he will make his initial appearance in Texas.

According to court documents, Mora, an IRS employee since 1993, conspired with Perez to defraud the United States by falsely claiming Perez’s niece as a dependent on his tax returns in order to qualify for the Earned Income Credit. Mora prepared false tax returns for Perez for tax years 2008 through 2012. When the IRS did not issue the tax refunds for the 2008, 2009, and 2010 tax years, Mora prepared and submitted forged letters allegedly from Perez’s sister, claiming that his niece was Perez’s dependent. Mora also used her position as an IRS employee to access without authority tax records of Perez’s sister and brother to further the scheme to defraud the United States and steal funds. In total, Mora and Perez stole approximately $13,000 in tax refunds from the United States.

This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Mia A. Giacomazzi is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Mora faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She will also be precluded from being hired as an IRS employee in the future. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated February 4, 2016

Press Release Number: 1:15-cr-284 AWI