Paralegal Charged In Scheme To Defraud Bay Area Law Firm And Its Clients
OAKLAND, Calif. – Ana Lissa Reyes, of San Lorenzo, Calif., was arraigned yesterday on an information charging her with multiple counts of mail fraud and tax evasion, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jose M. Martinez announced.
According to the information, Reyes is alleged to have worked as a secretary, office manager and paralegal for a Bay Area personal injury law firm. From about 2006 through June 2011, Reyes, without authorization, settled claims without the knowledge of the law firm or its clients and stole the settlement proceeds. It is also alleged that Reyes engaged clients without the law firm’s knowledge and stole client retainer fee payments. To carry out the scheme to defraud, Reyes created a bogus company to correspond with clients without the law firm’s knowledge and to defraud the clients into believing their cases were ongoing.
Reyes is also charged with willfully attempting to defeat a large part of the income tax due and owing for the calendar years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. It is alleged that, for each of those tax years, Reyes knew her joint taxable income was substantially in excess of the amount stated on the returns, and, upon the additional taxable income, a substantial additional tax was due and owing to the United States.
Reyes made her initial appearance in federal court in Oakland yesterday and is currently out on bond. She is next scheduled to appear in federal court in Oakland at 2 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2013, for a status hearing before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of tax evasion in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201 is six 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.
AUSA Wade M. Rhyne is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Janice Pagsanjan. The prosecution is the result of a year-long investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS, Criminal Investigation.
Please note, an information contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Reyes must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.