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Press Release

Oakland Resident Sentenced To 12 Months’ Imprisonment In Tax Fraud Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Conspiracy Claimed More Than $678,000 In False Refunds From The IRS

OAKLAND – Tanya Keith was sentenced today to 12 months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to file false federal tax returns, announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.  Today’s sentence follows Keith’s September 17, 2015, guilty plea to the conspiracy charge. 

On January 15, 2015, Keith, 48, of Oakland, was charged in a thirteen-count indictment along with co-defendants, Cassandra Tompkins, 48, of Oakland, Cordia Spearman, 46, of Vacaville; and Damien Mitchell, 52, of El Sobrante.  All four defendants were charged with conspiracy to file false federal tax returns, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286.  Keith was also charged with wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A.  Tompkins and Mitchell faced additional related charges.  

Pursuant to her plea agreement, Keith admitted that between January 15, 2011, and May 15, 2012, she, along with Tompkins, Spearman and Mitchell, obtained the names and social security numbers of other individuals and used the information to prepare false federal income tax returns.  Keith acknowledged that defendants filed a total of 219 false federal income tax returns with the IRS.  Defendants claimed over $678,000 in tax refunds of which $287,498 was paid by the IRS. 

All four defendants entered guilty pleas to the conspiracy change.  Tompkins, Spearman, and Mitchell pleaded guilty on August 20, 2015.  Tompkins acknowledged maintaining notebooks that listed the names and other personal identifying information for taxpayers, along with false W-2s, which she filed with the IRS.  Further, all four defendants admitted to receiving a portion of the improperly obtained tax refunds.

Keith’s sentence was handed down by the Honorable James Donato, U.S. District Judge. Judge Donato also sentenced Keith to pay $19,944 in restitution and to serve 3 years of supervised release.  Keith will begin serving her sentence on April 18, 2016.   

Judge Donato previously sentenced Tompkins and Spearman for their respective roles in the scheme.  Judge Donato sentenced Tompkins to 20 months’ imprisonment and Spearman to 3 years of probation, 6 months of which will include electronic monitoring.  Mitchell’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

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

Updated April 19, 2017