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Justice News

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Visalia Woman Pleads Guilty To Fraud And Identity Theft For Filing False Tax Returns Using Stolen Identities

FRESNO, Calif. —Rebekah Root, 33, of Visalia, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud, making a false claim for a tax refund, and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, in 2011, Root obtained tax documents that were stolen from an Internal Revenue Service office in Visalia. She used those tax documents to submit false tax returns on behalf of six taxpayers, without their knowledge or permission, and claimed approximately $50,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.

San Francisco Field Division Special Agent-in-Charge Rod Ammari for the Office of Investigations, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration stated: “When individuals steal information from the Internal Revenue Service and use that information to further identity theft, victims are left picking up the pieces from the financial problems they are left with due to the crimes committed. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is committed to pursuing individuals that use the IRS to further their identity theft schemes.”

This case is the product of an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Patrick R. Delahunty are prosecuting the case.

Root is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on January 20, 2015. Root faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud, five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for making a false claim for a tax refund, and a mandatory minimum penalty of two years in prison to be served consecutively with any other charged offenses for aggravated identity theft. 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 #: 1:13-cr-376-LJO
Updated April 8, 2015