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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

California Resident Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To File Fraudulent Tax Returns Seeking More Than $9.7 Million In Refunds

SAN FRANCISCO – Salinas resident Ana Bajo, a/k/a Ana Covarrubias, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to file fraudulent claims for income tax refunds, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Alex G. Tse and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to documents and information provided to the court, during 2012, Bajo, 43, conspired with others to obtain the personal identifying information of others and use it to file more than 2,300 fraudulent income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  These returns reported fake wages and fraudulently claimed dependents, education expenses, and tax credits.  In total, the returns sought approximately $9.7 million in refunds, of which the IRS paid more than $7.5 million. Bajo and her co-conspirators directed the fraudulently obtained refund checks into bank accounts that they controlled. On July 13, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Bajo charging her with conspiracy to submit false claims, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286. Pursuant to today’s plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to the charge. 

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh scheduled Bajo’s sentencing hearing for September 26, 2018.  Bajo faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten years in prison, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael G. Pitman and Trial Attorney Christopher Magnani of the Tax Division are prosecuting this case. This prosecution is a result of an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation.

Updated May 30, 2018