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Justice News

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

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Manteca Woman Pleads Guilty To Filing False Claims For Refunds

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Esther Lynne Robertson, 57, of Manteca pleaded guilty today to filing false claims for federal tax refunds, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to the plea agreement, in 2008, Robertson’s tax preparer suggested a way to get money from the government by claiming large refunds based on fictitious Form 1099-OID withholdings. Because of that suggestion, Robertson filed two false federal income tax returns: one for tax year 2005 claiming a $90,538 refund, and one for 2007 claiming a $313,248 refund. Based on the false statements, the IRS sent Robertson a check for $313,248. In February 2009, the IRS discovered the error and issued a levy to Robertson’s bank for the balance in the bank account. In September 2011, Robertson filed a false lien against the property of the IRS commissioner.

“Filing of false claims to the IRS to inflate your tax refund is a crime taken very seriously by IRS-CI,” said José M. Martínez, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “This is not your typical false claims case against the government; it exceeded most salaries of hard-working, tax-abiding citizens. IRS-CI will partner with the other divisions within IRS to collect the funds stolen by Robertson.”

This case is the product of an investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Ignacio Perez de la Cruz of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Segal in the Eastern District of California.

Robertson is scheduled to be sentenced over a year from now on September 23, 2015, by United States District Judge Kimberley J. Mueller. Robertson faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 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.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 2:13-cr-311-KJM
Updated April 8, 2015