Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to 97 Months in Prison for $10 Million Tax Fraud, Money Laundering Conspiracies
JACQUELINE J. ARIAS, 40, a tax return preparer from Spruce Pine, Alabama, was sentenced today for her role in conspiracies to file false tax returns and commit money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr. and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Larry J. Wszalek of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
In addition to incarceration, U.S. District Court Judge Helen G. Berrigan sentenced ARIAS to 97 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and restitution to the United States totalling $10,589,326. ARIAS was further ordered to forfeit nearly $400,000 in United States currency that was seized as part of the case.
On July 8, 2014, ARIAS pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, six counts of mail fraud, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. As part of her plea, ARIAS admitted to her role in a years-long scheme to defraud the United States by filing false income tax returns that fraudulently claimed large tax refunds. ARIAS, her husband, and nineteen other individuals, all of whom were foreign nationals, as well as her tax preparation business were charged as part of the case. Sixteen defendants have pleaded guilty, four remain fugitives overseas, and one defendant, who was recently arrested in Panama, is currently set for trial in December.
All of the defendants in this case who pleaded guilty thus far were sentenced to the following terms of imprisonment: CESAR ALEJANDRO SORIANO (42 months); OSCAR ARMANDO PERDOMO, (42 months); YONI PERDOMO, (38 months); ARNULFO SANTOS-MEDRADO, (38 months); ELSIDES EDGARDO ALVARADO-CANALES, (36 months); ELIECER OBED RODRIGUEZ, (34 months); OCTAVIO JOSUE PERDOMO, (34 months); ELBER MENDOZA-LOPEZ, (34 months); AURELIO MONTIEL-MARTINEZ, (24 months); MILLER PERDOMO-ACEITUNO, ( 24 months); SANTOS MARTIN HERNANDEZ, (24 months); and SUSANA CARILLO MENDOZA, (19 months).
According to court documents, ARIAS and her coconspirators filed false returns listing Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). An ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a Social Security Number. As alleged in the second superseding indictment, ARIAS was a Certified Acceptance Agent, meaning that she was entrusted by the IRS with the responsibility of reviewing the documentation of an ITIN applicant’s identity and alien status for authenticity, completeness and accuracy before submitting their application to the IRS. The indictment charged that ARIAS filed false applications for ITINs, false income tax returns, and collected preparation fees from the fraudulently-obtained tax refunds. The indictment also charged ARIAS with filing false tax returns for her corporation, JB Tax Professional Services, and for herself individually.
“The Department of Justice Tax Division remains committed to vigorously prosecuting complex, large-scale tax fraud schemes that often stretch across our borders,” stated Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Larry J. Wszalek of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. Ms. Arias’ sentence and the sentences of twelve of her co-conspirators, who are collectively spending over thirty-two years in prison, sends a strong message to return preparers and individuals who engage in this type of tax fraud. The Tax Division will continue to work with state and local authorities to prosecute these criminals and will resolutely pursue fugitives who commit tax crimes, as the recent arrest in Panama of a co-conspirator demonstrates.”
“Today's sentence reflects our Office's commitment to rooting out tax fraud,” stated U.S. Attorney Polite. “As a tax preparer, Arias was entrusted with drafting and submitting filings in accordance with our tax laws. Instead, she violated those laws by spearheading a scheme to defraud our government out of over $10 million in tax revenue. In addition to paying full restitution and a significant fine, she will spend 8 years in prison for her criminal conduct.”
“Identifying financial crimes that threaten the health of our national economy andexposing criminals who attempt to steal from law-abiding taxpayers will continue to be a major investigative priority for Homeland Security Investigations," said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer Jr. "This case further illustrates the excellent working relationship between HSI and its federal, state and local partners to identify, investigate and referthese criminals for prosecution.”
“Jacqueline Arias cast a wide net of fraud, and, in return, captured a lengthy prison sentence,” said Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Today's announcement is the result of collaborative work between local, state and federal law enforcement. Dismantling such a large network required the manpower of many agencies, and I would like to express my gratitude to our law enforcement partners who supported the investigation and prosecution of this very significant case.”
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees U.S. Homeland Security Investigations; IRS-Criminal Investigation; the U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, in partnership with the St. Tammany Parish and Jefferson Parish Sheriffs’ Departments. The case was prosecuted by Department of Justice, Tax Division Trial Attorney Hayden Brockett and Assistant United States Attorney David Haller.