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Press Release

Pittsburg Resident Sentenced To 84 Months In Prison For Tax Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Defendant Filed False Tax Returns Seeking $656,000

SAN FRANCISCO – Ebony Standifer was sentenced today to 84 months in prison and ordered to pay $193,602 in restitution for conspiracy to file false claims, aggravated identity theft, and criminal contempt announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.  The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Charles Breyer, U.S. District Judge after Standifer pleaded guilty to the charges. 

According to court documents, Standifer, 30, of Pittsburg, Calif., admitted she conspired with others to file false federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service from 2010 through 2012.  As part of the scheme, individuals with whom Standifer conspired provided her with names of people for whom to file false tax returns.  Standifer used those identities and filed returns without showing the documents to the people listed on them.  In addition to inserting the person’s name and Social Security number, Standifer made up figures for income and the amount of taxes that were withheld.  She then requested a tax refund based on these made-up figures.  Standifer filed the false returns electronically from various locations and kept notebooks that recorded information regarding the people whose identity she misappropriated.  In total, during 2010-2012, Standifer filed or assisted in filing false tax returns in the aggregate amount of $656,000 for the 2009-2011 tax years. Of that amount, the IRS actually paid fraudulent claims in the amount of $193,602.  

A federal grand jury indicted Standifer on October 28, 2014, charging her with one count of conspiracy to file false claims, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286; five counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 1343; and three counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A.  Standifer pleaded guilty on August 19, 2015, to conspiracy to file false claims and one count of aggravated identity theft.  

On February 3, 2016, Standifer was charged by information with two additional counts of criminal contempt, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 401(3).  Standifer pleaded guilty to both counts on February 22, 2017, admitting that when she pleaded guilty to the original charges, she already was involved in a pending identity theft case in Nevada.  Standifer acknowledged that while awaiting sentencing in this district, she used a misappropriated credit card to travel illegally to Nevada so she could attend hearings on the identity theft charges pending in that jurisdiction.     

In addition to the prison term, Judge Breyer also sentenced Standifer to  36 months of supervised release.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Newman is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the IRS, Criminal Investigation.

Updated September 5, 2017