Liberty County Woman Guilty of Federal Income Tax Conspiracy
BEAUMONT, Texas – A 69-year-old Liberty, Texas woman has pleaded guilty to a federal tax violation in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Maria Lilia Riggs pleaded guilty to an Information charging her with conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding and obstructing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the Treasury Department in the collection of income taxes. Riggs entered a plea of guilty on Nov. 28, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn as part of a plea agreement waiving her indictment by a federal grand jury.
According to a factual basis signed by the defendant, joint individual federal tax returns Form 1040 of defendant Maria Lilia Riggs and her spouse for tax years 2007 through 2014 show federal income taxes owed of approximately $359,009.00 with little or no withholding or taxes paid or tendered. Further, for tax years of 1999 through 2006 the joint individual tax returns Form 1040 of the defendant and her spouse show federal income taxes owed of approximately $164,514.00 with little or no withholding or taxes paid or tendered.
According to information presented by prosecutors, beginning in 2006 when Riggs learned that federal tax levies were being served on her financial institution she began to open other accounts at that institution and another financial institution in the names of relatives and corporations in which the personal earned income of Riggs and her spouse were deposited in and withdrawn from in order to evade the lawful collection of taxes owed over the years. In 2013 when IRS Revenue Officers attempted to collect past due taxes owed from the Riggs, Maria Lilia Riggs completed and signed Form 433-A, Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals and failed to disclose her ownership of the various nominee accounts she was utilizing to evade payment of taxes owed.
Under federal statutes, Riggs faces up to five years in federal prison at sentencing as well as restitution to the IRS of approximately $521,166. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert L. Rawls.