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Justice News

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pacifica Bookeeeper Charged With Bank Fraud, Identity Theft And Filing False Tax Returns

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal grand jury indicted Krisinda Messer on charges of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and filing false tax returns, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.

According to the indictment, from 2007 through 2011, Messer, of Pacifica Calif., was employed as a bookkeeper by a San Francisco company, whose initials are J.A.E., Inc.  Messer did not have signatory authority over J.A.E., Inc.’s account with Bank of America.  She did, however, have signatory authority over a Wells Fargo Bank account held in the name of American Backflow Company (ABC), a company owned by a member of Messer’s family.  ABC provided no goods or services to J.A.E., Inc.  The indictment alleges that from May 12, 2008, through August 31, 2011, Messer executed a scheme to defraud Wells Fargo Bank by drafting J.A.E., Inc. checks payable to ABC, on which she forged her supervisor’s signature and then deposited the checks into the ABC bank account.  Messer also unlawfully used her supervisor’s identification to make several of these transactions.   The indictment further alleges Messer filed false tax returns for the 2009, 2010, and 2011 tax years that did not report to the IRS the income she received from her embezzlement activities.  In sum, Messer is charged with twelve counts of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344; four counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A; and three counts of filing false tax returns, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1).

Messer is scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco on May 28, 2015, at 9:30 a.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of thirty years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000 for each count of bank fraud.  In addition, the maximum sentence for aggravated identity theft is two years in prison, consecutive to underlying felony for bank fraud.  If convicted for filing a false tax return, the maximum penalties are three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count of filing a false tax return.  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.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Tolkoff and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Moore are prosecuting the case.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Updated May 13, 2015