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Justice News

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

Friday, August 21, 2015

East Bay Residents Plead Guilty To Tax Fraud Conspiracy

Claimed More than $678,000 in False Tax Refunds From the IRS

OAKLAND – Cassandra Tompkins, Cordia Spearman, and Damien Mitchell pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco yesterday to conspiracy to file false federal tax returns, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon.

Tompkins, 48, of Oakland; Spearman, 46, of Vacaville; and Mitchell, 52, of El Sobrante, were all charged on January 15, 2015, along with a fourth defendant, in a thirteen count federal indictment with conspiracy to file false claims.  In pleading guilty, Tompkins, Spearman, and Mitchell admitted that between January 15, 2011, and May 15, 2012, they obtained and used personal identifying information to prepare and file 219 false federal income tax returns with the IRS.  Tompkins admitted using the names and social security numbers of individuals to claim $678,426 in tax refunds, of which $287,498 was actually paid by the IRS.  Tompkins further admitted she maintained notebooks that listed the names and other personal identifying information for some of the taxpayers, along with falseW-2s that she filed with the IRS.  Tompkins, Spearman, and Mitchell each admitted they knew the tax returns were false except for the personal identifying information used to file the returns.  All three defendants acknowledged having received a portion of certain tax refunds.  Under the plea agreements, Tompkins, Spearman, and Mitchell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file false claims, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 286.

The sentencing hearing for Tompkins and Spearman is scheduled for December 17, 2015, before The Honorable James Donato, U.S. District Court Judge, in Oakland.  The sentencing hearing for Mitchell is not yet scheduled.

The maximum sentence for conspiracy to file false claims is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Stier is prosecuting this case.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Updated August 21, 2015