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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Southern California Man Gets 21 Months in Federal Prison for Income Tax Return Fraud in Nevada

     LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Huntington Beach, Calif. man who defrauded the IRS of almost $800,000 in a false income tax refund scheme, was sentenced today to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the government, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge John Collins of IRS Criminal Investigation for Nevada.

            Judas Godina, 39, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson. Godina was indicted in July 2013 and pleaded guilty on July 15, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. He must report to federal prison by Jan. 16, 2015.

            “This type of tax crime harms every U.S. citizen and resident,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “We will aggressively work with the IRS to prosecute these cases, and will also recommend prison sentences in order to deter others from this type of fraud.”

“The substantial sentence of imprisonment and restitution handed down today on this case makes it clear that filing false claims for tax refunds is a serious crime,” said Special Agent in Charge Collins.  “IRS Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of our law enforcement partners and federal prosecutors, will aggressively pursue these violations of the law and protect the integrity of the tax system and honest taxpayers.”

According to the guilty plea agreement, from about January through December 2010, Godina conspired with Felix and Walter Guzman to defraud the IRS through a false income tax refund scheme. Godina recruited customers in Las Vegas into the tax return scheme by telling them that he could prepare their individual income tax returns and generate large refunds for them. Godina requested their identification information and tax returns from prior years, and then prepared the fraudulent tax returns using the information they provided, along with fraudulent W-2’s and Schedule E’s for business losses that he created. Godina transmitted or caused to be submitted the fraudulent forms to the IRS and monitored the status of the refunds.  When the customers received the refunds, Godina arranged to meet them and demanded payment of approximately one-half of the refund.  Godina also offered to pay a finder’s fee to customers who referred other paying customers to him and prepared fraudulent tax returns for customers recruited by co-defendants Felix and Walter Guzman.  Using this fraudulent scheme, Godina admitted that his conduct resulted in $791,666 in fraudulent refunds being issued by the IRS. The Guzman’s are currently fugitives and the charges against them are unresolved.

The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn C. Newman.

Updated February 4, 2015