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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Former IRS Employee Sentenced To More Than 4 Years In Prison For Claiming Over $1,745,000 In False Tax Returns

FRESNO, Calif. – Monica Nanette Hernandez, 41, of Fresno, was sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii to four years and five months in prison for filing false tax returns, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Judge Ishii also ordered Hernandez to pay $175,144 in restitution.

According to court documents, Hernandez worked for the IRS Service Center in Fresno as a part-time data entry clerk. While employed in that capacity, Hernandez filed three tax returns for herself claiming excessive federal tax withholdings based on falsely claimed interest and dividend income. Because of these fraudulent returns, Hernandez obtained more than $175,000 in refunds from the IRS.

In addition, in April 2010, Hernandez stole 68 tax returns from the IRS Service Center that had not yet been entered into the IRS’s computer system. She electronically filed fraudulent tax returns for her own benefit using the identification information of some of these taxpayers in which she claimed excessive federal tax withholdings from dividends and interest income. In total, Hernandez attempted to claim more than $1,745,000 in fraudulent tax refunds through the returns she filed using other taxpayers’ personal information.

“Identity theft is an epidemic that has hit the American people hard, and having an Internal Revenue Service employee involved in such criminal activity erodes the public trust in government institutions, especially the IRS,” said Rod Ammari, Special Agent in Charge, San Francisco Field Division, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “TIGTA and its law-enforcement partners will actively investigate IRS-related identity theft cases, and will do everything within its powers to ensure those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

This case was the product of an extensive investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Assistant United States Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Christopher D. Baker prosecuted the case.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:11-cr-149-AWI
Updated April 8, 2015