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Justice News

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Latin Kings Gang Leader Sentenced To 70 Months In Prison For Conspiring To Steal $180,000 From IRS

Eliseo Ortiz orchestrated tax fraud scheme while incarcerated at Stillwater Correctional Facility

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the sentencing of ELISEO ORTIZ, 50, to 70 months in prison for conspiring to file false state and federal tax returns and claim tax refunds. Co-defendants STACEY JEAN BERGHAMMER, 34, who was sentenced yesterday to time served, and SHANNON LEE TROLLEN, 38, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to file false claims. ORTIZ, who pleaded guilty on September 18, 2015, to one count of conspiracy to file false claims, was sentenced today before U.S. District Judge Susan R. Nelson in St. Paul, Minn.

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, between 2008 and at least April 28, 2010, ORTIZ was incarcerated at Stillwater Correctional Facility, where he recruited and directed numerous co-conspirators to provide names and social security numbers to be used in preparing and filing the false tax returns. In addition, ORTIZ recruited help from outside the prison to execute the scheme, including help from co-defendants BERGHAMMER and TROLLEN. ORTIZ’ co-conspirators were asked to provide addresses for unincarcerated trusted associates who could transfer money from tax refunds to the defendants and other co-conspirators. ORTIZ provided the information he obtained from the co-conspirators to BERGHAMMER or TROLLEN, who would then complete and file the false tax returns that fraudulently claimed refunds to which the recruits were not entitled.

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, ORTIZ filed false income tax returns for tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009 by claiming false wages, withholdings, and other tax credits. ORTIZ and other co-conspirators obtained payments for their roles in the scheme in various ways. Payments were sometimes obtained through a direct deposit, debit cards or by having the tax refund check sent to an associate who would then cash the check and split the money between the co-conspirator, the defendants, and others.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Cheever.


Defendant Information:


Bartlett, Ill.


  • Conspiracy to file false claims, 1 count


  • 70 months in prison
  • Three years supervised release




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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

Updated April 19, 2016