Pleasant Hill Woman Pleads Guilty In Identity Theft Tax Scheme
OAKLAND – Sherry L Hender pleaded guilty today to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.
According to the plea and court documents, beginning in August 2011, Hender assisted in preparing hundreds of false income tax returns, claiming fraudulent tax credits and fraudulent tax refunds. In order to conduct her tax scheme, Hender created an identification information form, “ID-DOC”, which was used to prepare the fraudulent income tax returns. This form contained questions about personal identification, including name, date of birth, Social Security number, income, number of dependents, expenses, and occupation. In January 2012, Hender opened a business bank account in the name of She-File Tax Assistance for Household Employees (She-File bank account), which was used to receive tax refunds. Between Jan. 18, 2012 and Feb. 21, 2012, Hender prepared and submitted what she believed to be fraudulent income tax returns directing the IRS to send the refunds to her “She-File bank account”. On Feb. 7, 2012 and Feb. 24, 2012, Hender told IRS Special Agents that she knew the tax refund money was obtained fraudulently and agreed to return it to the IRS. She did not return the money to the IRS, instead she withdrew the funds and spent it on personal items and illegal drugs. Hender obtained $51,629 in fraudulent refunds.
Hender, 50, of Pleasant Hill, was charged on May 21, 2013, with thirteen counts of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft. She pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property and to the aggravated identity theft count.
Hender’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 9, 2014, at 1:00 p.m., before the Honorable Jeffrey S. White, United States District Court Judge, in Oakland. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of theft of government property, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C § 641, is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C § 1028A, is two years in prison, consecutive to the underlying felony.
Assistant US Attorney Thomas Moore is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.