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Press Release

Erie Woman Pleads Guilty in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

ERIE, Pa. - A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Katrina A. House, 45, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that House conspired with another individual to defraud the United States by submitting false claims for income tax refunds using individuals’ identification information which was unlawfully obtained. House stole the identities of 71 individuals who were clients of a non-profit social service agency where House was employed. House and her co-defendant sought refunds from the IRS of more than $100,000.00 and used the stolen identities and falsified W-2 forms to perpetrate the fraudulent tax refund scheme. House and her co-defendant successfully obtained more than $60,000.00 in tax refunds from the fraudulent scheme and converted that money to their own use.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for December 21, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 2 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued House on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Marshall J. Piccinini is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of House.

Updated August 14, 2015