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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Former Immigration Consultant Pleads Guilty To Filing False Tax Returns

SAN JOSE – Evelyn Sineneng-Smith pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose yesterday to filing a false tax return, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.

In pleading guilty, Sineneng-Smith admitted that she operated an immigration consultation business and most of the income listed on her tax returns came from payments from her clients. She admitted that she filed false individual income tax returns for the 2002 and 2003 tax years by only providing her accountant with some of the financial records from her business, and these records materially understated her gross business income for each tax year. She further admitted that when she mailed the returns to the Internal Revenue Service, she knew that each return was not true and correct as to the amount of the gross receipts reports on the returns and would be paying less income taxes than she actually owed.

Sineneng-Smith, 67, of San Jose, Calif., was indicted by a federal Grand Jury on July 14, 2010. She was charged with two counts of willfully subscribing to a false tax return, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1), three counts of encouraging and inducing illegal immigration for private financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) and (B)(i), and three counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341.  The tax counts were severed from the immigration and mail fraud counts. On July 30, 2013, a jury convicted Sineneng-Smith of three counts of encouraging and inducing illegal immigration for private financial gain, in violation of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) and (B)(i), and three counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341.

Sineneng-Smith’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 18, 2015, before the Honorable Ronald M. Whyte, U.S. District Court Judge, in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1) is three years in prison and a fine of $100,000, plus restitution. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) and (B)(i) is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 fine, plus restitution. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Susan Knight and Philip Guentert are the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Tracey Andersen and Nina Burney. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Updated January 13, 2015