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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 20, 2015

Former Credit Union Chief Operating Officer Pleaded Guilty to Stealing Tax Refund Money

Sherrie Rivera, 53 of Hialeah, pled guilty today to one count of theft of government money, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement.

According to court documents, from 2009 through 2014, Rivera worked as the Chief Operating Officer for a credit union.  In that position, Rivera had the ability to access account information, institute fee reversals, and authorize transactions on the credit union’s accounts.  Over a five-year period, Rivera stole approximately $385,000 from accounts using different means.

Court documents state that in 2011 a customer’s account at the credit union received a series of tax refunds in different names from the filing of fraudulent tax returns.  The U.S. Department of Treasury requested reclamation of these refunds from the credit union.  The credit union was supposed to mail checks to the Treasury Department in the amount of the fraudulent refunds.  Specifically, the account had a tax refund in the amount of $4,900.  On June 1, 2011, Rivera caused a $4,900 check to be written from the account to the U.S. Department of Treasury.  Rivera signed the check, but instead of sending the check to the Treasury Department, Rivera told a teller to cash the check and Rivera kept the funds for her personal use.  Rivera admitted in an interview to her involvement in this theft of government funds.

Rivera is scheduled to be sentenced on October 2, 2015, before the Honorable Kenneth A. Marra, United States District Judge.  At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum of ten years of imprisonment.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov

Topic(s): 
Tax
Updated February 4, 2016