Edmond Woman Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $454,000 from Metro Employer and Signing a False Tax Return
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – SANDRA SALDANA, of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced yesterday to serve 124 months in federal prison for defrauding several payroll companies, including a metro business, and for filing false federal income tax returns, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. Saldana was also ordered to pay $526,667.19 in restitution to 11 payroll companies and the IRS.
On July 27, 2015, Saldana was charged in a one-count Information with wire fraud relating a scheme to defraud a metro payroll company. The information alleged that Saldana previously worked at accounting jobs in Dallas and stole bank account details and former co-workers’ personal information while at those businesses. The Information further alleged that, from around January 2013 through February 2015, Saldana contacted payroll companies around the country, falsely claiming that she was the office manager for one of her former employers and wanting to set up payroll services to pay her employees. At yesterday’s plea and sentencing hearing, Saldana admitted that she e-mailed an Oklahoma City payroll company using a fictitious name and e-mail address as an office manager for a Dallas company. Saldana falsely claimed that she wanted to set up payroll services for the Dallas business (where she no longer worked). Saldana admitted that she provided the Oklahoma City payroll company with fraudulent payroll information, including a list of bogus employees, and a victim’s bank account number from which payroll funds would be transferred. Based on the misrepresentations, the payroll company transferred money to bank accounts under Saldana’s control. Saldana later used these proceeds for her personal benefit.
On September 9, 2015, Saldana was also charged in a one-count Information with aggravated identity theft, for using a victim’s name, social security number, and date of birth without the victim’s permission while filing a false federal income tax return in the victim’s name. The information further alleged that Saldana directed the Internal Revenue Service to deposit the falsely claimed refund of $3,344 to an account that Saldana had set up in the victim’s name. At yesterday’s hearing, Saldana admitted that in February 2013 she filed the false federal income tax return without the victim’s permission and used the fraudulent IRS refund for her personal benefit. According to evidence at the hearing, Saldana had filed or attempted to file 136 false federal income tax returns for tax years 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Yesterday, United States District David L. Russell sentenced Saldana to 100 months in federal prison for the payroll fraud, and sentenced her to 24 additional months in prison for the tax fraud. Judge Russell ordered Saldana to pay $484,109.19 in restitution to 11 different payroll companies around the country for the payroll fraud. Saldana was also ordered to pay $42,558 in restitution to the IRS for refunds from false federal income tax returns. Following her imprisonment, Saldana must serve three years of supervised release. Saldana has been in federal custody since she was arrested in Dallas and charged with the payroll fraud in February of this year.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris M. Stephens.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.