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Justice News

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

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Woman Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Multi-Million Dollar Tax Return Scheme

Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on March 14, 2018, Amalia Gamboa (age 41), of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was sentenced in federal court to 5 years in prison for fraudulently obtaining over $4.6 million in tax refund checks. The sentence followed her guilty plea to mail fraud, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1341, theft of government money, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.  Gamboa was also ordered to pay $4,681,690.42 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.  Gamboa additionally agreed to be voluntarily deported after her prison sentence to Mexico due to her lack of legal status in the United States.

Gamboa committed her theft by fraudulently obtaining Individual Tax Identification Numbers (“ITINs”) from the IRS.  An ITIN is what the IRS issues to individuals who cannot, due to their immigration status, obtain a Social Security number.  Individuals who obtain an ITIN use it to file their income tax returns.  

To obtain an ITIN, an applicant has to provide the IRS certain personal identifying documents, such as national identifications or voter cards.  Gamboa obtained personal identifying documents from citizens of Mexico, fraudulently applied for ITINs in their names, and then filed false tax returns using the ITINs she obtained. 

In the fraudulent tax returns that she filed, Gamboa claimed the Additional Child Tax Credit (“ACTC”).  The ACTC reduces tax liability dollar for dollar, and the unused portion of a refundable credit is still payable to the taxpayer.  Accordingly, even someone who has no tax liability may qualify to receive the ACTC.  Gamboa falsely claimed dependents in the tax returns that she filed to fraudulently receive the ACTC.

From November 2010 through March 2017, Gamboa received at least $4,681,690.42 in U.S. Treasury refund checks from her scheme.  When handing down the sentence, United States District Judge Pamela Pepper said that anyone who commits tax fraud “steals from every hard working person who pays taxes in the country,” and Judge Pepper stated that her sentence must “send a message” to others that tax fraud offenses are serious crimes that require significant sentences.  Judge Pepper also said, referring to tax fraud cases over which she has presided, that she had “never seen a single person responsible for this much loss in my time as a judge,” and further described the amount that Gamboa stole as “mind blowing.”

“IRS Criminal Investigations is sworn to protect the tax system and bring to justice those who steal from the U.S. Treasury,” said St. Paul Acting Special Agent in Charge Hubbard Burgess. “The IRS and Department of Justice remain determined and vigilant in ferreting out these types of identity theft cases and holding those who engage in similar behavior fully accountable.”

“This case sends a clear warning:  Tax fraud and identity theft are serious crimes and will be prosecuted aggressively.  The honest taxpayers that fund our government deserve to know that cheaters face real punishment.  We commend IRS Criminal Investigation for its excellent work in this case.”  

This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Keith Alexander.


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For further information contact:

Public Information Officer Dean Puschnig at (414) 297-1700

Updated March 15, 2018