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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Monday, June 20, 2016

Springfield Woman Pleads Guilty to Cashing Fraudulent Tax Refund Checks

BOSTON – A Springfield woman pleaded guilty on Friday, June 20, 2016, in connection with cashing more than $1.3 million in fraudulent income tax refund checks. 

Evelyn A. Manzueta, 52, pleaded guilty to theft of government property.  U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Sep.12, 2016.

From January 2012 to May 2013, Manzueta orchestrated the cashing of 236 fraudulent tax refund checks. She cashed nearly $500,000 through her own accounts and enlisted friends and family members to cash the remaining checks through their accounts.  The scheme cashed checks totaling $1,377,376. 

The U.S. Department of Treasury issued the checks based on tax returns, submitted by unknown individuals, which were later determined to be fraudulent.  Although the tax returns used the names and Social Security numbers of real people living in Puerto Rico, their addresses were falsely listed as Massachusetts and New York.  The tax returns also contained false employment information.  Manzueta, knowing the tax return checks were fraudulent, cashed them through her bank accounts and the accounts of friends and family.  

Robert Evans, of Wallkill, New York, Manzueta’s brother-in-law, previously pleaded guilty to cashing $517,714 in the fraudulent checks.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 12, 2016.

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen L. Goodwin of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office. 

Updated June 20, 2016