Hayward Woman Pleads Guilty To Filing False Claims
OAKLAND, Calif. – Claudia Robinson, age 39, pleaded guilty yesterday for her role in a false tax refund scheme, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Jose M. Martinez announced.
According to her plea agreement, between January 26, 2008, and February 12, 2008, Robinson filed false claims for tax refunds with the IRS in other people’s names. According to her plea, Robinson admitted that the claims listed on the returns were false because the information she listed was largely fictitious, with the exception of the individuals’ identities. Specifically, Robinson admitted the returns were all false because they indicated that: 1) the taxpayer earned income that he or she did not, in fact, earn; 2) the taxpayer lived at the defendant’s residence, her father’s residence, or her sister’s residence, when, in fact, this was false; 3) the taxpayer had a dependent or dependents, when, in fact, the taxpayer did not financially care for such dependent or dependents; and 4) the taxpayer listed on each tax return did not, in fact, view and sign the return.
Robinson also prepared a false income tax return in an individual’s name who did not ask Robinson to prepare a tax return on her behalf. According to court documents, Robinson contacted that individual and offered to pay her to tell the IRS agents that Robinson prepared the return at the individual’s request, which was not true. The Indictment charges Robinson with obstructing the IRS investigation for offering that individual a television in exchange for false testimony.
On September 15, 2011, Robinson, of Hayward, Calif., was charged in a 25-count indictment with wire fraud, false claims, identity theft, and obstructing the IRS. She pleaded guilty to eight counts of filing false claims.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of False Claims, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C § 287, is five 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.
In response to these types of cases, the Justice Department’s Tax Division issued a new directive to further the efforts of the Tax Division and help U.S. Attorneys’ Offices respond quickly and effectively to the challenges in stolen identity refund fraud cases. To further this goal, Tax Division Directive 144, which took effect on Oct. 1, 2012, was issued to streamline the process for prosecuting these offenses.
Denise Barton and Thomas Newman are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys prosecuting this case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation