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Press Release

Former IRS Employees Plead Guilty to Tax Fraud in Fresno

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Two long-time IRS employees pleaded guilty today to aiding others in the preparation of false tax returns, and making their own fraudulent tax returns as an employee of the United States, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Della Ornelas, 49, and Randall Ruff, 53, both of Fresno, are a married couple. Between 2005 and 2012, they filed false tax returns for family and friends that added dependents, generating large tax refunds that were diverted into bank accounts they controlled, sometimes without the knowledge of the taxpayer. They also filed false tax returns for themselves by fraudulently adding dependents. Over a seven-year period, Ornelas defrauded the United States of approximately $76,897 and Ruff defrauded the United States of approximately $53,227.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McKeon is prosecuting the case.

Ornelas and Ruff are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on November 13, 2017. They each face a maximum statutory sentence of three years in prison for aiding and abetting false tax returns and five years in prison for making fraudulent tax return by an employee of the United States. The actual sentence, however, will 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.

Updated August 28, 2017

Press Release Number: 1:16-cr-054 DAD