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Highlights - 2013 Archive

Archives: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004


December 30, 2013

Taxpayer Sentenced for Impeding Tax Administration by Use of False Levy Releases

On November 13, 2013, in the District of Hawaii, Miguel Rivera was sentenced for attempting to interfere with the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws. [1] According to court documents, Rivera knowingly and intentionally devised a scheme to defraud United Healthcare Services and the IRS to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent representations. [2] Rivera pled guilty to two counts of attempts to interfere with the IRS on June 14, 2013. [3]

Rivera was married to an individual who was employed by United Healthcare Services, and owed the IRS money for unpaid Federal income taxes. Rivera and his spouse had a joint bank account at First Hawaiian Bank. When the IRS imposed a tax lien on the wages of Rivera’s spouse, United Healthcare Services deducted $2,397.08 from her salary. Rivera submitted false information to United Healthcare Services making it appear that the IRS had released the lien and Rivera’s spouse could resume receiving her wages, salary, and other income. United Healthcare Services subsequently returned $2,397.08 to Rivera’s spouse. [4]

Additionally, as the IRS’ collection efforts continued, an IRS revenue officer notified First Hawaiian Bank of an IRS-imposed tax lien on Rivera’s spouse’s property under the bank’s control. Three days after notification to the bank, Rivera submitted a false and fraudulent release of levy to First Hawaiian Bank. Rivera did so with the intent that the false levy release would be treated as if it was real and to regain access to the money in his joint bank account. [5]

Rivera was sentenced to three months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release. Rivera is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on January 31, 2014. Rivera was also ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $2,397.08. [6]

  • [1] D. HI Judgment filed Nov. 18, 2013.
  • [2] D. HI Indictment filed Feb. 28, 2013.
  • [3] D. HI Plea Agreement filed Jun. 14, 2013.
  • [4] D. HI Indictment filed Feb. 28, 2013; D. HI Plea Agreement filed Jun. 14, 2013.
  • [5] Id.
  • [6] D. HI Judgment filed Nov. 18, 2013.
  • December 16, 2013

    Pennsylvania Tax Preparer Indicted for Extortion by Use of Threats and Impersonation of an IRS Employee

    On November 6, 2013, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Maria Colvard was charged in a superseding indictment with extortion by a person representing herself to be an officer of the United States, impersonating an employee of the United States, and interference with commerce by threats. [1] Colvard and co-defendant Merarys Paulino were initially indicted on June 5, 2013. [2] On October 8, 2013, Paulino entered a guilty plea to extortion by a person representing herself as an officer of the United States. [3] According to the November superseding indictment, Colvard obstructed and affected the commerce of Cristina’s Tax Service by extortion with the wrongful use of fear and threats, including the fear of economic loss. As part of the extortion scheme against her business competitor, Colvard aided, counseled, and induced Paulino in representing herself to be an employee of the United States, specifically, a criminal investigator with the IRS named “LaBella Williams.” Under the false pretense of her employment with the IRS, Paulino demanded the client list of Cristina’s Tax Service, sums of money, and the closure of the business. [4]

    Extortion through the wrongful use of threats or under the color of an official act carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment. [5] Colvard's trial is scheduled for March 3, 2014.

    • [1] M.D. Pa. Superseding Indictment filed Nov. 6, 2013.
    • [2] M.D. Pa. Indictment filed Jun. 5, 2013.
    • [3] M.D. Pa. Criminal Docket filed Jun.5, 2013.
    • [4] M.D. Pa. Superseding Indictment filed Nov. 6, 2013. Extortion through the wrongful use of threats or under the color of an official act carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment.
    • [5] Colvard’s trial is scheduled for March 3, 2014.
    Internal Revenue Service Employee Sentenced for Structuring Drug Proceeds

    On October 15, 2013, in the Eastern District of California, Catatea James was sentenced for aiding and abetting in the structuring of funds. [1] James pled guilty to the offense on July 16, 2013. [2]

    According to court documents, James knowingly and intentionally aided and abetted in the structuring of approximately $113,088 in drug proceeds at the direction of her half-brother and co-defendant, Joseph Gable. James allowed Gable to deposit and withdraw structured funds through her bank account, even though she suspected the money represented drug proceeds. On one occasion, James provided her bank account number to one of Gable’s drug customers in Alabama via text message. [3]

    Gable would send James a text with the amount of funds he wanted withdrawn. James made a number of cash withdrawals from her Bank of America account in amounts of $10,000 or less [4] for the purpose of evading the reporting requirements for cash transactions. [5] James would then give the money to Gable. [6]

    James was sentenced to five months imprisonment and three years of supervised release, including five months of electronic monitoring. [7]

    • [1] E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Oct. 24, 2013.
    • [2] E.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed Jul. 16, 2013.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] E.D. Cal. Superseding Info. filed Jul. 22, 2013.
    • [6] E.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed Jul. 16, 2013.
    • [7] E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Oct. 24, 2013.
    December 2, 2013

    Former Internal Revenue Service Employee Indicted in Stolen Identity Refund Scheme

    On October 2, 2013, in the Western District of Missouri, Central Division, Demetria Brown was indicted for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to the 22- count indictment, Brown worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in St. Louis, Missouri at all times relevant to the charges. From at least 2008 through March 2011, Brown knowingly devised a scheme to defraud and obtain money from the IRS and the Missouri Department of Revenue (MDOR) by means of materially fraudulent representations. [1]

    Brown obtained the personal identifiers of individuals (including names, Social Security Numbers, and dates of birth) without their consent or knowledge and completed U.S. Individual Tax Returns and Missouri State Tax Returns with the information. She also added other false information such as addresses, places of employment, wages earned, taxes withheld, and refunds due, to the returns. [2]

    Using a false identity, Brown established an account with an Internet service provider and an e-mail address in order to submit the false returns to the IRS and MDOR and generate fraudulent refunds. She opened nominee bank accounts with at least six financial institutions in five different States. She used the routing number, account number, and debit card number on the fraudulent returns to direct payment or credit to accounts she controlled. Through her scheme, Brown unlawfully acquired approximately $326,260 ($211,474 from the IRS and $114,786 from the MDOR). [3]

    • [1] W.D. Mo. C.D. Indictment filed October 2, 2013.
    • [2] Id.
    • [3] Id.
    Former Internal Revenue Service Employee Ordered to Pay Restitution for Theft of National Treasury Employees Union Funds

    On October 2, 2013, in the District of Utah, Northern Division, Sheila Brown was ordered to pay $24,582.46 in restitution to Chapter 67 of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU). [1] Brown was indicted for theft from a program receiving Federal funds in January 2013. [2] She pled guilty and was sentenced for the offense in June 2013. [3]

    According to court documents, from approximately June 2005 until April 2010, Brown served as the Treasurer for NTEU Chapter 67 (NTEU-67). Brown was employed by the IRS in Ogden, Utah, at all times relative to the charges. NTEU-67 is an independent Federal sector union representing employees of the Treasury Department, and receives Federal funding and subsidies from the IRS. IRS employees complete NTEU-67 duties while on official IRS work time and are paid with IRS funds. [4]

    Brown’s responsibilities as the Treasurer for NTEU-67 included overseeing union dues and funds, balancing accounts, submitting and writing checks, and paying for authorized travel, all on behalf of NTEU-67. By virtue of her position as Treasurer, Brown had access to two NTEU bank accounts that were to be used solely for NTEU expenses and purposes. Brown embezzled money from NTEU-67 by using its banking accounts, as well as check and debit cards she obtained from the NTEU-67 accounts, for her personal use and benefit. From approximately January 2009 through April 2010, Brown made unauthorized cash withdrawals from the accounts, issued unauthorized checks, and made personal purchases with debit cards. [5]

    In addition to the $24,582.46 in restitution [6], Brown was sentenced to 12 months of probation and ordered to participate in a mental health treatment program. [7]

    • [1] D. Utah Stipulated Motion to Amend Judgment for Order of Restitution filed Oct. 2, 2013.
    • [2] D. Utah Indict. filed Jan. 9, 2013.
    • [3] D. Utah Statement by Defendant in Advance of Guilty Plea filed June 24, 2013; D. Utah Judgment filed June 27, 2013.
    • [4] D. Utah Indict. filed Jan. 9, 2013.
    • [5] Id.
    • [6] D. Utah Stipulated Motion to Amend Judgment for Order of Restitution filed Oct. 2, 2013.
    • [7] D. Utah Judgment filed June 27, 2013.
    Fred Neal, Jr. Sentenced for Interference with Tax Administration and Retaliation Against Federal Officials

    On October 4, 2013, in the Eastern District of Arkansas, Fred Neal, Jr. was sentenced for corruptly interfering with the Internal Revenue laws and filing false liens against Government employees and officials. [1] Neal pled guilty to the offenses on June 18, 2013. [2]

    According to court documents, Neal corruptly endeavored to obstruct or impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue Code by attempting to intimidate, harass, and attack the financial integrity of Government officials whom he believed to be party to legal actions brought against him by the IRS. [3]

    Neal acknowledged that he did so with the intent to secure an unlawful advantage or benefit to himself by attempting to keep the United States from foreclosing on his property. [4] Neal and his spouse had outstanding Federal income tax assessments of approximately $1.3 million. [5]

    Neal engaged in open defiance of the liability after legal action and collection proceedings were initiated. [6] Neal caused repeated filings of fictitious legal and tax documents attacking the personal financial integrity and well-being of officials and employees of the United States, including the Secretary of the Treasury, seven IRS employees, three Department of Justice Tax Division attorneys, at least three Federal judges and associated United States Court personnel, and a United States Attorney. [7]

    Neal’s filings of fictitious forms misrepresented that the Government employees and officials had paid and received personal income reportable to the IRS totaling more than one billion dollars. [8] Additionally, Neal filed in public records false and fraudulent liens against the real and personal property of these officers and employees of the United States on account of the performance of their official duties. [9] Neal acknowledged that he knew the liens or encumbrances were false or contained materially false statements. [10]

    Neal was sentenced to one year and one day imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised probation. He was further ordered to participate in a mental health program. Neal is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on November 18, 2013. [11]

    • [1] E.D. Ark. Judg. filed October 7, 2013.
    • [2] E.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed June 18, 2013.
    • [3] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011.
    • [4] E.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed June 18, 2013.
    • [5] Id.
    • [6] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011.
    • [7] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011 and E.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed June 18, 2013.
    • [8] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011.
    • [9] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011 and E.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed June 18, 2013.
    • [10] Id.
    • [11] E.D. Ark. Judg. filed October 7, 2013.
    November 4, 2013

    Former Supervisory Internal Revenue Agent and Group Manager Sentenced for Exceeding Authorized Access to a Government Computer and Conflict of Interest

    On September 12, 2013, in the Middle District of Louisiana, Jeanne Gavin was sentenced for exceeding her authorized access to a Government computer and engaging in a criminal conflict of interest. [1] Gavin pled guilty to the violations on April 29, 2013. [2]

    Gavin, who was a Supervisory Internal Revenue Agent and Group Manager, was employed by the IRS starting in 1979. Her group was primarily responsible for auditing small businesses and self-employed taxpayers. As a manager, Gavin was involved in identifying taxpayers to be audited, assigning the auditor, and overseeing the audit. [3]

    While employed by the IRS, Gavin established a private tax and accounting business where she performed tax and accounting services for a fee, including representation of taxpayers before the IRS. Gavin made over $70,000 in cash and other payments through her business. IRS employees are not permitted to engage in outside employment unless they obtain a written conflict of interest waiver from the IRS. Gavin did not seek or obtain a waiver for her business, as she knew the IRS would not have granted her a waiver to perform private tax services. [4]

    From 2005 through 2009, Gavin accessed and obtained taxpayer information contained in an IRS computer system over 2,000 times for the purpose of conducting her private tax and accounting business. She directed unsuspecting subordinate IRS employees, who believed that the information was being requested for official purposes, to access the information for her. IRS employees are only authorized to access this information to carry out their official duties, and not to conduct a private business. [5]

    Gavin was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, which includes three months in a residential community corrections center. Additionally, Gavin was fined $20,000. [6]

    • [1] M.D. La. Judgment filed Sept. 26, 2013.
    • [2] M.D. La. Minute Entry filed Apr. 29, 2013.
    • [3] M.D. La. Bill of Info. filed Mar. 28, 2013.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] Id.
    • [6] M.D. La. Judgment filed Sept. 26, 2013.
    Defendant Sentenced for Threats of Forcible Interference

    On September 30, 2013, in the District of Arizona, Tommie G. Padgett, Jr. was sentenced for threats of forcible interference with the administration of Internal Revenue laws. [1]

    Padgett pled guilty to the offense on August 26, 2013. [2] According to court documents, Padgett knowingly tried to obstruct or impede the IRS by threatening bodily harm during contact with an IRS Revenue Officer. [3] Padgett contacted the Revenue Officer to complain about a civil penalty assessed against him, his outstanding balance due, and a levy placed on his Social Security benefits.

    During the contact, Padgett made statements indicating he would “blow [his] brains out” in the IRS employee’s office. He said he was very serious about this and had started paying for a grave. Padgett further stated, in part, “I feel like blowing up… If I have to teach them a lesson, it will be the last thing I ever do. You try and forget Timothy McVeigh.... I’m not a coward... There is a fine line between infamy and fame. I’ve spent my entire life trying not to be famous because I don’t want to be infamous… [T]his is not pushing me toward being able to stay unfamous [sic].” With his plea, Padgett acknowledged the accuracy of these statements. [4]

    Padgett was sentenced to three years of supervised probation, and was additionally instructed to attend psychiatric counseling at least once every six weeks and participate in a substance abuse treatment program. [5]

    • [1] D. Ariz. Judgment filed Oct. 1, 2013.
    • [2] D. Ariz. Judgment filed Oct. 1, 2013; D. Ariz. Plea Agr. filed Sept. 30, 2013.
    • [3] D. Ariz. Plea Agr. filed Sept. 30, 2013.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] D. Ariz. Judgment filed Oct. 1, 2013.
    Guilty Verdict for California Man in Connection with Identity Theft Tax Scheme

    On October 4, 2013, in the Central District of California, Jerry Gregoire, Jr. was found guilty of making false claims against the United States, theft of Government funds, and aggravated identity theft. [1] According to court documents, as part of a stolen identity refund scheme, Gregoire submitted tax returns to the IRS using the true names and Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of other individuals without their knowledge or consent. The returns included false income, expenses, and deductions, thus inducing refunds to be issued. The refunds were directed to bank accounts that Gregoire controlled. [2]

    When Gregoire attempted to cash refund checks in the names of three victims, Money Mart (a check cashing business) notified the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Gregoire had claimed the individuals’ names on the checks were actually names of his businesses and his new clothing lines. He provided fabricated business documents and IRS Forms SS-4, purporting that the IRS had issued Employer Identification Numbers in these business names. [3]

    The investigation of Gregoire was conducted jointly with agents from TIGTA and IRS Criminal Investigation. A search warrant at Gregoire’s residence identified multiple fraudulent documents in the name of one of the victims, including a false IRS Form SS-4, and a fabricated Form W-2, along with a document containing the real name, SSN, date of birth, and occupation of the victim. [4]

    At the conclusion of a four-day trial, jurors found Gregoire guilty on all thirteen counts of the October 1, 2013 substitute indictment. [5] Sentencing is scheduled for December 16, 2013. [6]

    • [1] C.D. Cal. Verdict filed Oct. 4, 2013; C.D. Cal. Substitute Indict. filed Oct. 1, 2013.
    • [2] C.D. Cal. First Superseding Indict. filed May 8, 2013.
    • [3] C.D. Cal. Crim. Compl. filed April 16, 2013.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] C.D. Cal. Verdict filed Oct. 4, 2013.
    • [6] C.D. Cal. Crim. Docket filed Apr. 24, 2013.
    Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty for Creating False Levy Release

    On September 19, 2013, in the Southern District of California, the United States District Court accepted a guilty plea [1] from unenrolled tax preparer Shannon Brown for corruptly interfering with tax administration. [2]

    According to court documents, on August 30, 2013, Brown tendered a guilty plea [3] to an Information charging her with corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the IRS by creating a forged and false levy release purporting to release an official IRS bank levy. [4] In her plea agreement, Brown admitted that in July 2012, while employed as an unenrolled tax return preparer and bookkeeper, she created and transmitted a false levy release, without lawful authority, with the intention of preventing the IRS from collecting levied funds from a client’s bank account. [5]

    The IRS had placed a levy on the client’s account for an employment tax debt in the amount of $7,789.57. Brown created a false levy release by scanning a legitimate IRS levy release from another matter, editing the release, and copying the signature of an IRS Revenue Officer obtained from an unrelated document to the forged document. Brown then transmitted the forged Release of Levy to the Bank of Southern California, purporting to officially release the IRS levy on the client’s account. [6]

    Brown’s sentencing is scheduled for November 25, 2013. [7]

    • [1] S.D. Cal. Order Adopting Findings and Recommendations filed Sept. 19, 2013.
    • [2] S.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed Aug. 30, 2013.
    • [3] S.D Cal. Crim. Docket filed Aug. 30, 2013.
    • [4] S.D. Cal. Info. filed Aug. 30, 2013; S.D Cal. Crim. Docket filed Aug. 30, 2013.
    • [5] S.D. Cal.Plea Agr. filed Aug. 30, 2013.
    • [6] Id.
    • [7] S.D. Cal. Findings and Recommendation of the Mag. J. filed Aug. 30, 2013.
    Three Taxpayers Indicted for Retaliation against Federal Employees

    On August 15, 2013, in the Eastern District of California, Teresa Marty, Charles Tingler, and Victoria Tingler were indicted for filing retaliatory liens against Federal employees, false claims, and unauthorized disclosure and use of a Social Security Number. Teresa Marty and Charles Tingler were also charged with conspiracy to defraud the Government. [1]

    According to the superseding indictment, Marty, a licensed tax preparer in Placerville, California, was involved in the filing of fraudulent tax returns with the IRS. Marty, along with other individuals, filed at least 250 false income tax returns on behalf of individuals residing in 26 different States, fraudulently claiming more than $60 million in refunds. The returns falsely reported on IRS Forms 1099-OID that a client’s total outstanding debt was actually interest income that had been withheld by the IRS rather than paid to the client, thus entitling the client to a tax refund of the amount. Refund claims ranged from over $39,000 to $1.6 million. [2]

    Charles and Victoria Tingler, also of Placerville, California, were clients of Marty’s tax preparation business. They too, along with Marty and other individuals, knowingly filed a false tax return with the IRS claiming a refund of $358,415. [3]

    When the IRS assessed Marty and the Tinglers for the amount of the fraudulent refunds, Marty and Charles Tingler intentionally and knowingly conspired to impede and obstruct the lawful functions of the IRS. On multiple dates, Charles Tingler sent correspondence to the IRS Revenue Officer assigned to the collection of their debt that alleged the Revenue Officer owed him $6 million and demanded payment of such. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Marty hired a collection agency to collect the false debt allegedly owed. [4]

    Marty, Charles Tingler, and Victoria Tingler also filed retaliatory liens in public records against the properties of the multiple Federal employees involved in the collection and litigation of their respective cases knowing that the liens contained materially fraudulent representations. The targeted officials included IRS employees and Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys. The liens, filed with the Office of the California Secretary of State, falsely claimed encumbrances ranging from $500,000 to $84 million. Additionally, in filing such false liens, Marty and the Tinglers used and disclosed publicly the Social Security Numbers of at least five of the Federal employees and the home address of one. [5]

    Agents from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration arrested Charles and Victoria Tingler in South Lake Tahoe, California on August 20, 2013. [6] Each was released on a $50,000 unsecured appearance bond. [7] IRS Criminal Investigation agents previously arrested Marty on June 25, 2013, in connection with her June 20, 2013 indictment for conspiracy to defraud the Government and false claims related to the tax refund scheme. [8]

    • [1] E.D. Cal. Superseding Indictment filed Aug. 15, 2013.
    • [2] Id.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] E.D. Cal. Superseding Indict. filed Aug. 15, 2013.
    • [6] E.D. Cal. Return of Arrest Warrant Charles Tingler filed Aug. 21, 2013; E.D. Cal. Return of Arrest Warrant Victoria Tingler filed Aug. 21, 2013.
    • [7] E.D. Cal. Criminal Docket Minutes entered Aug. 20, 2013.
    • [8] E.D. Cal. Return of Arrest Warrant Teresa Marie Marty filed June 26, 2013; E.D. Cal. Indict. filed June 20, 2013.
    September 30, 2013

    Four Individuals Indicted for Impersonating IRS Employees in International Advance Fee Scheme

    On July 31, 2013, in the Eastern District of New York, four individuals were charged with impersonating IRS employees, wire fraud, and conspiracy in association with an international advance fee scheme.[1]

    According to court documents, between January 2008 and July 2013, Canadian citizens Sandy Winick, Gregory Curry, Kolt Curry, and Gregory Ellis, along with others, conspired to obtain money and property from victims by means of false representations and promises related to an advance fee scheme. [2]

    The advance fee scheme was separate from, but interrelated to, a penny stock scheme; both orchestrated by Winick. The penny stock scheme involved fraudulently inflating and attempting to inflate the share prices and trading volumes of certain penny stocks. The advance fee scheme involved making false promises to investors to induce them to pay fees for non-existent services to sell their nearly worthless stocks for a profit.[3] The schemes claimed victims from 35 different countries. [4]

    In furtherance of the advance fee scheme, Gregory Curry and Kolt Curry helped manage call centers in at least three countries that were used to solicit victims. They also helped prepare false letters, websites, and e-mail accounts to deceive victims. Kolt Curry and Ellis personally participated in making fraudulent telephone calls to victims of the advance fee scheme. [5]
    The advance fee defendants posed as employees of fake companies and actual entities, including the IRS. After victims were advised to pay other fees related to the sale of the stocks, they received by e-mail fraudulent notices falsely communicating that the IRS required advance payment of approximately 30 percent of the transaction in taxes before the sale could be completed. The defendants created false personas and IRS documents purporting to originate from IRS employees solely for the purpose of defrauding the advance fee victims. Victims were instructed to wire the fees, including the IRS fee, through Citibank in New York which ultimately were transferred to an account in Beirut, Lebanon. Funds were further wired throughout the world to accounts maintained by Winick, Gregory Curry, Kolt Curry, Ellis, and others. None of the victims received their anticipated sales proceeds after paying the fees. [6]

    In March 2013, Winick began recruiting individuals for two more call centers, including one in Brooklyn, New York. When discussing plans to open a call center in New York, Kolt Curry stated, in part, “….hitting the Americans would be like taking money from a baby.” [7] The proceeds of the advance fee scheme in 2009 and 2010 alone totaled more than $5 million. [8] The total loss to victims is estimated to be over $20 million. [9]

    The investigation was worked by agents from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, IRS Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations.

    • [1] E.D. N.Y. Indictment filed July 31, 2013; E.D. N.Y. Superseding Indictment filed Aug. 7, 2013.
    • [2] E.D. N.Y. Superseding Indictment filed Aug. 7, 2013.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] E.D. N.Y. AUSA Letter Requesting Detention filed Aug. 13, 2013.
    • [5] E.D. N.Y. Superseding Indictment filed Aug. 7, 2013.
    • [6] Id.
    • [7] E.D. N.Y. Superseding Indictment filed Aug. 7, 2013; E.D. N.Y. AUSA Letter Requesting Detention filed Aug. 13, 2013.
    • [8] E.D. N.Y. Superseding Indictment filed Aug. 7, 2013.
    • [9] E.D. N.Y. AUSA Letter Requesting Detention filed Aug. 13, 2013.
    Walter Trizila Sentenced for Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Federal Officers

    On August 22, 2013, in the District of Nebraska, Walter Trizila was sentenced for assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers of the IRS in the performance of their official duties. [1]

    According to the May 22, 2013, plea agreement, Trizila encountered IRS officers during an authorized seizure of a dump truck from Trizila’s employer for nonpayment of taxes. The IRS officers identified themselves and began to affect the seizure of the truck. Trizila became irate and confrontational. While the officers were placing a seizure tag on the dump truck, Trizila continued to load dirt into it, and also shook the truck with a front-end loader he was operating. Trizila then scooped a full load of dirt into the bucket of the front loader and intentionally drove directly at the officers, refusing to comply with their demands to stop and forcing one officer to move out of his path to avoid being struck. Trizila stopped the loader just short of striking a second officer and dumped the bucket load of dirt within inches of the second officer’s feet. Trizila admitted his actions were taken in an effort to scare the IRS officials. [2]

    Trizila was sentenced to three years of probation, including 90 days of radio frequency monitoring, and was ordered to complete 60 hours of community service. [3]

    • [1] D. Neb. Judgment filed Aug. 23, 2013; D. Neb. Indict. filed Jan. 23, 2013.
    • [2] D. Neb. Plea Agr. filed May 22, 2013.
    • [3] D. Neb. Judgment filed Aug. 23, 2013.
    IRS Tax Compliance Officer Ceil Love Pleads Guilty to Disclosure of Tax Information

    On July 11, 2013, in the Northern District of Georgia, IRS employee Ceil Love pled guilty to a Criminal Information [1] , after being charged with knowingly and willingly disclosing to an unauthorized party tax return and return information collected by the Department of the Treasury. [2]

    According to court documents, Love has been employed by the IRS since 1990 and was a senior Tax Compliance Officer from 2005 to 2012. Love accessed the IRS database housing tax returns and return information without an official purpose or authorization on nine dates between March 2010 and November 2011 to obtain information from the tax account of her niece. Love used the information to file a false, amended Federal tax return claiming an $8,000 refund for the First-Time Homebuyer’s Credit even though her niece had not purchased a home during that year. [3]

    Love took the tax return to her office at the IRS where it was stamped as “Received.” Although the fraudulent return did not meet the criteria for the First-Time Homebuyer’s Credit, Love obtained an IRS Examination Classification stamp from a co-worker’s desk and stamped the tax return “Accepted as Filed,” thus causing it to be processed for payment without further screening. The IRS issued a refund check in the amount of $8,412.67 to the address on the return, which was Love’s residence. [4]

    Love was unable to negotiate the refund check and allowed it to expire knowing the IRS would issue a new check. In preparation for receipt of the second check, Love fraudulently procured a copy of her niece’s birth certificate and, using the birth certificate plus information obtained from the tax account of her niece, obtained a Georgia Identification Card in her niece’s name. While applying for the Georgia Identification Card, Love disclosed the Social Security Number of her niece, which she obtained from her unauthorized access to IRS records, to a Georgia Department of Drivers Services employee. When the IRS issued a second check in the amount of $8,412.67, Love used the fraudulently obtained Georgia Identification Card to negotiate the check and deposit it into her personal checking account. [5]

    Sentencing is scheduled for September 18, 2013. [6]

    • [1] N.D. Ga. Plea Agr. filed July 11, 2013.
    • [2] N.D. Ga. Criminal Information filed June 10, 2013.
    • [3] N.D. Ga. Plea Agr. filed July 11, 2013.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] Id.
    • [6] N.D. Ga. Minute Sheet filed July 11, 2013.
    Veronica Littlejohn Sentenced for Wire Fraud, Aiding and Abetting

    On August 5, 2013, in the Central District of California, Veronica Littlejohn was sentenced for wire fraud, aiding and abetting. [1]

    According to court documents, from approximately January 2005 through August 2009, Littlejohn was knowingly part of a scheme [2] with multiple coconspirators to defraud private individuals by means of false pretenses. [3] Coconspirators in Nigeria and elsewhere contacted victims by e-mail and telephone and fraudulently induced them to send money to Littlejohn and her associates via Western Union, MoneyGram, and bank transfers. The victims were instructed to send money for a variety of reasons, including being falsely told they had won a lottery or were named in an inheritance but first needed to send money for taxes and attorney’s fees before receiving their winnings or inheritance. [4]

    Littlejohn’s coconspirators falsely represented themselves to be attorneys, bankers, diplomats, or other government officials to persuade the victims that they were legitimate professionals. [5] Littlejohn kept a percentage of the victims’ money for herself and then wire-transferred the remaining portion to her associates in Nigeria and elsewhere. [6]

    Littlejohn was sentenced to 12 months and one day of imprisonment. She was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, to educate senior citizens and students at high schools and colleges about advanced-fee scams, and to pay $24,630 in restitution to the victims. [7]

    • [1] C.D. Cal. Judgment filed Aug. 5, 2013.
    • [2] C.D. Cal. Amended Plea Agreement filed Sept. 8, 2011.
    • [3] C.D. Cal. Indict. filed Feb. 10, 2011.
    • [4] C.D. Cal. Amended Plea Agreement filed Sept. 8, 2011.
    • [5] C.D. Cal. Indict. filed Feb. 10, 2011.
    • [6] C.D. Cal. Amended Plea Agreement filed Sept. 8, 2011.
    • [7] C.D. Cal. Judgment filed Aug. 5, 2013.
    September 3, 2013

    Gary McDevitt Arrested for Threatening to Kill an IRS Employee

    On July 25, 2013, in the Middle District of Florida, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) special agents arrested Gary McDevitt for a threatening communication transmitted in interstate commerce, and threats of force to intimidate an officer of the United States. [1]

    McDevitt’s arrest was based on a June 12, 2013 indictment. According to court documents, during a telephone communication transmitted from Florida to Illinois, McDevitt threatened to kill a Revenue Officer (RO) of the Internal Revenue Service. McDevitt endeavored to intimidate and impede the RO, who was acting in an official capacity, because of a notice of levy filed on McDevitt’s bank account. [2]

    McDevitt was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond and was ordered to avoid contact with the RO. [3] A trial date has been set for September 3, 2013. [4]

    • [1] M.D. Fla. Return of Warrant for Arrest filed July 26, 2013.
    • [2] M.D. Fla. Indict. filed June 12, 2013.
    • [3] M.D. Fla. Release Bond filed July 26, 2013.
    • [4] M.D. Fla. Criminal Docket filed June 12, 2013.
    Internal Revenue Service Employee Joy Fox Indicted in Identity Theft Scheme

    On July 18, 2013, in the Eastern District of Kentucky, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Joy Fox was indicted for fraud and related activity in connection with computers, aggravated identity theft, mail fraud, and conspiracy to file false claim. [1]

    According to court documents, as part of her duties with the IRS, Fox had access to an IRS computer system which maintains taxpayer information, including names, Social Security Numbers, and dates of birth of taxpayers. On dates between January 2013 and March 2013, Fox and a co-conspirator, Patrick Sharpe, carried out a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of false pretense. As part of the plan, Sharpe requested that Fox provide identifying information on individuals 65 years of age or older who were entitled to receive Social Security benefits. Fox exceeded her authorized access to the IRS computer system and improperly, without authority, obtained the personal identifying information of at least eight individuals. This information was provided to Sharpe for use in the scheme. [2]

    Trial is scheduled for September 23, 2013. [3]

    • [1] E.D. KY Indictment, filed July 18, 2013.
    • [2] Id.
    • [3] E.D. KY Criminal Docket, filed July 18, 2013.
    Former Internal Revenue Service Employee Sentenced for Conflict of Interest and Unauthorized Disclosure

    On July 16, 2013, in the Southern District of New York, former IRS employee Dennis Lerner [1] was sentenced for acts affecting a personal financial interest and unauthorized disclosure of information. [2]

    According to court documents, Lerner, while an IRS employee, personally and substantially participated in IRS settlement negotiations with a company while actively seeking employment with the company. Lerner also, while still an IRS employee, knowingly and willfully disclosed tax return information regarding audits being conducted by the IRS to an individual who was not an IRS employee. [3]

    Lerner was sentenced to three years of probation and 150 hours of community service, and was fined $10,000. [4]

    • [1] S.D. N.Y. Info. filed Dec. 18, 2012.
    • [2] S.D. N.Y. Judgment In A Criminal Case filed July 16, 2013.
    • [3] S.D. N.Y. Info. filed Dec. 18, 2012.
    • [4] S.D. N.Y. Judgment In A Criminal Case filed July 16, 2013.
    Individual Indicted on Weapons Charges Previously Threatened to Bomb an IRS Office

    On July 23, 2013, in the District of Utah, Central Division, Keith Pierce was indicted for Failure to Register as a Dealer and Manufacturer, Illegal Possession of Machine Guns, and Possession of a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number. [1] Pierce was arrested on July 10, 2013, in Provo, Utah on Federal weapons charges. [2]

    According to court documents, an investigation was initiated on Pierce in November 2012 after he made statements to a confidential source about bombing the IRS office in Provo, Utah, the Provo Police Department, and a court building. Pierce also claimed to have access to automatic weapons, as well as the tools and knowledge to make fully automatic weapons. During the investigation, Pierce delivered a fully automatic firearm with an obliterated serial number to a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) undercover employee. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) review and testing of the weapon revealed its modified configuration and concluded it could be defined as a machine gun. [3]

    After his arrest, the court found that Pierce constitutes a risk of danger to the community and ordered that he be detained pending trial. [4]

    The investigation was worked by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The arrest was conducted by agents of the FBI, BATF, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

    • [1] D. Utah Indictment filed July 23, 2013.
    • [2] D. Utah Warrant for Arrest filed July 10, 2013.
    • [3] D. Utah Complaint filed July 9, 2013.
    • [4] D. Utah Criminal Docket Minute Entry filed July 15, 2013.
    August 12, 2013

    Individual Pleads Guilty to Bribery of Public Officials

    On June 21, 2013, in the District of New Jersey, Woodland Park resident [1] Michael Kazmark entered a guilty plea [2] for knowingly and corruptly giving something of value to public officials with the intent to influence official acts. [3] Kazmark had an outstanding Federal tax liability of approximately $98,046 and was seeking to reduce it. [4] Kazmark made two bribe payments totaling $18,500 to public officials he understood to work for the IRS in exchange for their official assistance. [5] In addition to the payments, it was further a part of Kazmark’s bribery scheme that the public officials agree to accept an offer in compromise for the amount of $9,760 that he had already paid to the IRS, and place his Federal tax liability in a non-collectible status for two years. [6] Sentencing is scheduled for September 26, 2013. [7]

    • [1] D. N.J. Info. filed June 21, 2013.
    • [2] D. N.J. Application for Permission to Enter Plea of Guilty filed June 21, 2013.
    • [3] D. N.J. Plea Agr. filed June 21, 2013.
    • [4] D. N.J. Info. filed June21, 2013.
    • [5] D. N.J. Info. filed June 21, 2013; D. N.J. Plea Agr. Filed June 21, 2013.
    • [6] D. N.J. Info. filed June 21, 2013.
    • [7] D. N.J. Crim. Docket filed June 21, 2013.
    Individual Pleads Guilty to Interference with Tax Administration and Retaliation of Federal Officials

    On June 18, 2013, in the Eastern District of Arkansas, Fred Neal, Jr. pled guilty to corruptly interfering with the Internal Revenue laws, and filing false liens against Government employees and officials. [1]

    A February 2, 2011 indictment charged that Neal corruptly endeavored to obstruct or impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue Code by attempting to intimidate, harass, and attack the financial integrity of Government officials believed to be party to legal actions brought against Neal by the IRS. [2]

    Neal acknowledged he did so with the intent to secure an unlawful advantage or benefit to himself by attempting to keep the United States from foreclosing on his property. [3] Neal and his spouse had outstanding Federal income tax assessments of approximately $1.3 million. [4]

    Neal engaged in open defiance of the liability after legal action and collection proceedings were initiated. [5] Neal caused repeated filings of fictitious legal and tax documents attacking the personal financial integrity and well-being of officials and employees of the United States, including the Secretary of the Treasury, seven IRS employees, three Department of Justice Tax Division attorneys, at least three Federal judges and associated United States Court personnel, and a United States Attorney. [6]

    Neal’s filings of fictitious forms misrepresented that the Government employees and officials had paid and received personal income reportable to the IRS totaling more than one billion dollars. [7] Additionally, Neal filed in public records false and fraudulent liens against the real and personal property of these officers and employees of the United States on account of the performance of their official duties. [8] Neal acknowledged he knew the liens or encumbrances were false or contained materially false statements. [9]

    Sentencing is scheduled for October 4, 2013.

    • [1] E.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed June 18, 2013.
    • [2] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011.
    • [3] E.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed June 18, 2013.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011.
    • [6] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011 and E.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed June 18, 2013.
    • [7] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011.
    • [8] E.D. Ark. Indict. filed Feb. 2, 2011 and E.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed June 18, 2013.
    • [9] Id.
    July 16, 2013

    Joseph Fienga Pleads Guilty to Assaulting an IRS Employee

    On June 19, 2013, in the Southern District of New York, Joseph P. Fienga pled guilty to Count One of an Information, [1] charging him with assaulting an IRS employee in Middletown, New York. [2]

    According to court documents, on or about October 22, 2012, Fienga did forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, interfere with, and commit simple assault on an IRS employee, who was engaged in the performance of his official duties, by throwing coffee on him. [3]

    • [1] S.D.N.Y. Criminal Docket filed June 19, 2013.
    • [2] S.D.N.Y. Information filed May 8, 2013.
    • [3] Id.
    Veta Thompson Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison

    On May 17, 2013, Veta Thompson was sentenced in the Western District of Louisiana for corruptly endeavoring to obstruct or impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws. [1]

    In 2008, Veta Thompson contacted the IRS to find out how they handled overpayments to taxpayers' accounts. She was told that if an overpayment was made to her account, the IRS would issue her a refund. From January 15, 2008, and continuing through April 29, 2010, Thompson submitted 386 payments to the IRS totaling $12,825,992.33, knowing that she had no tax liability and that no money was owed to her by the IRS. All of the payments were rejected by the bank because the accounts were either closed or there were insufficient funds in the accounts. [2]

    After Thompson submitted these payments to the IRS, the IRS credited her tax account before they knew the payments were drawn on accounts that were either closed or that contained nonsufficient funds. Because her IRS account showed a credit balance, the IRS issued nine refund checks to her, totaling $77,349.09. After the IRS realized what had happened, they placed a freeze on her account, preventing any additional erroneous refunds from being issued to her. [3]

    Thompson was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to make restitution to the IRS in the amount of $77,349.09. [4] She previously pled guilty to the charge on January 17, 2013. [5]

    • [1] W.D. La. Judgment filed May 22, 2013.
    • [2] W.D. La. Stipulated Factual Basis filed Jan. 17, 2013.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] W.D. La. Judgment filed May 22, 2013.
    • [5] W.D. La. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 17, 2013.
    13 Current and Former IRS Employees Arrested for Concealing Material

    Thirteen current and former IRS employees were arrested in the Western District of Tennessee on April 17, 2013, for concealing material information and making false statements. [1]

    According to indictments filed in March 2013, the individuals were charged with concealing material information and making false statements related to obtaining Government benefits. All 13, individually charged in separate indictments, were alleged to have concealed material information and falsely stated that they were unemployed while applying for or recertifying to obtain unemployment payments. However, at all times relevant to the indictments, the individuals were employed by the IRS. [2]

    Some individuals were also charged with concealing material information and making false statements to obtain food stamps, [3] welfare, [4] and housing vouchers. [5]

    • [1] W.D. Tenn. Arrest Warrants Returned Executed: Angela Allison, Dorothy Simmons, Teresa Jenkins, Angela Scales, Mary Weeks, Evonna Yarbrough, Lillian Hamilton, Jessica Davis, Shari House, Talari Mitchell, Serina Gaither, Joanne Johnson, and Gale Baker filed Apr. 17, 2013; W.D. Tenn. Indictments: Angela Allison, Dorothy Simmons, Teresa Jenkins, Angela Scales, Mary Weeks, Evonna Yarbrough, Lillian Hamilton, Jessica Davis, Shari House, Talari Mitchell, Serina Gaither, Joanne Johnson, and Gale Baker filed Mar. 27, 2013.
    • [2] W.D. Tenn. Indictments: Angela Allison, Dorothy Simmons, Teresa Jenkins, Angela Scales, Mary Weeks, Evonna Yarbrough, Lillian Hamilton, Jessica Davis, Shari House, Talari Mitchell, Serina Gaither, Joanne Johnson, and Gale Baker filed Mar. 27, 2013.
    • [3] W.D. Tenn. Indictments: Angela Allison, Dorothy Simmons, and Teresa Jenkins filed Mar. 27, 2013.
    • [4] W.D. Tenn. Indictment: Dorothy Simmons filed Mar. 27, 2013.
    • [5] W.D. Tenn. Indictment: Angela Allison filed Mar. 27, 2013.
    IRS Revenue Agent Sentenced for Theft of Public Money

    Internal Revenue Service employee Becky L. Book [1] was sentenced on May 21, 2013, in the District of Kansas for theft of public money, a felony. [2]

    Between March 2010 and April 2011, Book, an IRS Revenue Agent, fraudulently charged 744 hours to her cases which she did not actually work and prepared travel vouchers which claimed fraudulent mileage to appointments with taxpayers she never attended, resulting in a total loss to the IRS of $26,449.65. When interviewed by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Special Agents, Book admitted to filing fraudulent travel vouchers and "pencil whipping" her Examining Officers Activity Records to cover for her lack of work. [3]

    Book previously pled guilty to the charge of theft of public money on February 14, 2013, in the District of Kansas. [4] She was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $26,449.65. [5]

    • [1] D. Kan. Plea Agr. filed Feb. 14, 2013.
    • [2] D. Kan. Judgment filed May 22, 2013.
    • [3] D. Kan. Plea Agr. filed Feb. 14, 2013.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] D. Kan. Judgment filed May 22, 2013.
    June 12, 2013

    Former IRS Employee Jeanne Gavin Pleads Guilty to Exceeding Authorized Access to a Government Computer and Conflict of Interest

    On April 29, 2013, Jeanne Gavin pled guilty in the Middle District of Louisiana to exceeding authorized access to a Government computer and engaging in a criminal conflict of interest. [1]

    Gavin, who was a Supervisory Internal Revenue Agent and Group Manager, was employed by the IRS starting in 1979. Her group was primarily responsible for auditing small businesses and self-employed taxpayers. As a manager, Gavin was involved in identifying taxpayers to be audited, assigning the auditor, and overseeing the audit. [2]

    While employed by the IRS, Gavin established a private tax and accounting business where she performed tax and accounting services for a fee, including representation of taxpayers before the IRS. Gavin made over $70,000 in cash and other payments through her business. IRS employees are not permitted to engage in outside employment unless they obtain a written conflict of interest waiver from the IRS. Gavin did not seek or obtain a waiver for her business as she knew the IRS would not have granted her a waiver to perform private tax services. [3]

    From 2005 through 2009, Gavin accessed and obtained taxpayer information contained in the IRS computer system over 2,000 times for the purpose of conducting her private tax and accounting business. She directed unsuspecting, subordinate IRS employees, who believed that the information was being requested for official purposes, to access the information for her. IRS employees are only authorized to access this information to carry out their official duties and are not authorized to access it to carry out a private business. [4] Sentencing is scheduled for September 12, 2013. [5]
    • [1] M.D. La. Minute Entry filed Apr. 29, 2013; M.D. La. Bill of Information filed Mar. 28, 2013.
    • [2] M.D. La. Bill of Information filed Mar. 28, 2013.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] M.D. La. Minute Entry filed Apr. 29, 2013.
    Leroy Altona Sentenced for Threatening to Shoot IRS Employees

    Leroy Altona was sentenced, in the Western District of Washington, for interference with the administration of Internal Revenue laws. [1]

    Altona called the IRS in November 2012, to complain about a tax penalty that had been assessed in connection with his previous business. During the call, he threatened to shoot any IRS employees who entered his property by making such statements as, “How ‘about if I tell ‘em to come and get it and I’ll wait here with my, uh, Mac 15, and pick ‘em off as they come up the driveway?” and, “My attitude is like, Revenuers, you shoot ‘em on sight.” [2]

    Altona was sentenced to two-years of probation on April 30, 2013. [3] He previously pled guilty to the charge on January 29, 2013. [4]

    • [1] W.D. Wash. Judgment filed Apr. 30, 2013.
    • [2] W.D. Wash. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 29, 2013.
    • [3] W.D. Wash. Judgment filed Apr. 30, 2013.
    • [4] W.D. Wash. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 29, 2013.
    Tammi Haines Sentenced for Impersonation of IRS Employee

    Tammi Haines was sentenced in the District of New Jersey [1] for impersonation of an officer or employee of the United States. Haines prepared a letter, which displayed the letterhead of the Department of Treasury and IRS, purportedly authored by “Senior Revenue Officer Jason Riesen.” The letter, which she provided to her mother who was identified only as “D.G.” in court documents, indicated that D.G. owed no tax. [2]

    D.G. had authorized her daughter, Haines, to prepare and file Federal income tax returns for her for tax years 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006; however, Haines never filed the returns. The IRS subsequently filed tax returns on her behalf, which resulted in a tax liability to D.G. of approximately $330,000. When the IRS Revenue Officer assigned to collect the tax liability contacted D.G., D.G. provided the Revenue Officer with the letter she received from her daughter which she believed was authentic. [3] Haines later admitted that she wrote the fraudulent letter to “buy time” with D.G. so that she would not take immediate action on the tax liability. [4]

    On March 21, 2013, Haines was sentenced to 12-months in prison followed by one-year of supervised release and was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment for impersonation of an officer or employee of the United States. [5] Haines had previously pled guilty to the charge on December 21, 2011. [6]

    • [1] D.N.J. Judgment filed Mar. 22, 2013.
    • [2] D.N.J. Info. filed Dec. 21, 2011.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] D.N.J. Compl. filed Sept. 28, 2010.
    • [5] D.N.J. Judgment filed Mar. 22, 2013.
    • [6] D.N.J. Minutes of Proceedings filed Dec. 21, 2011.
    May 13, 2013

    IRS Employee Antonio Willabus Sentenced for False Statements

    IRS employee Antonio Willabus was sentenced in the District of Maryland for making false statements. [1] Willabus was a GS-15 information technology specialist who worked a compressed schedule and was placed on a “flexiplace” work schedule that permitted him to work at his home on designated days. He entered his own time, attendance, and leave data into the IRS’s time reporting database. His supervisor validated the time and attendance based upon approved leave requests. [2]

    From about January 13, 2012 to June 8, 2012, Willabus falsely certified in his database entries that he had worked designated hours when, in fact, he had not worked the hours and had taken personal time off without authorization. As a result, Willabus received approximately $28,692 in salary for hours that he did not work. [3]

    On April 18, 2013, Willabus was sentenced to four months of imprisonment and one year of supervised release with the additional condition to perform 400 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay $24,427.45 in restitution and a $100 assessment. [4] Willabus had previously pled guilty to the false statements charge on January 18, 2013. [5]

    • [1] D. Md. Judgment filed Apr. 19, 2013.
    • [2] D. Md. Indict. filed July 16, 2012.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] D. Md. Judgment filed Apr. 19, 2013.
    • [5] D. Md. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 18, 2013.
    IRS Employee Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Passport Fraud

    On April 4, 2013, in the Southern District of Texas, Temi Russell, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit passport fraud. From October 11, 2007 through September 2, 2010, Russell and a co-conspirator, Nyle Churchwell, worked at a Federal building in Houston, Texas. [1] Russell was an IRS Tax Examiner and Churchwell was an Adjudication Manager for the Houston Passport Agency. [2] Russell introduced another co-conspirator, Lorna Brown, to Churchwell. [3]

    As part of the scheme, Brown, who was found guilty of aiding and abetting in this matter, [4] brought non-U.S. citizens to the passport office to get false U.S. passports. Churchwell approved the false passports knowing that the documents and witness information submitted was false. After the passports were issued, Russell would pick up and deliver them. [5]

    Sentencing is scheduled for June 28, 2013. [6]

    • [1] S.D. Tex. Plea Agr. filed Apr. 5, 2013; S.D. Tex. Superseding Indict. filed Sept. 5, 2012.
    • [2] S.D. Tex. Superseding Crim. Indict. filed Sept. 5, 2012.
    • [3] S.D. Tex. Plea Agr. filed Apr. 5, 2013.
    • [4] S.D. Tex. Order for Presentence Investigation and Disclosure & Sentencing Dates filed Sept. 5, 2012; S.D. Tex. Superseding Crim. Info. filed Aug. 23, 2012.
    • [5] S.D. Tex. Plea Agr. filed Apr. 5, 2013.
    • [6] S.D. Tex. Crim. Docket filed Apr. 5, 2013.
    Hoang O. Hoang Pleads Guilty to Bribery of a Public Official

    On April 4, 2013, in the District of New Hampshire, Hoang O. Hoang pled guilty to bribery of a public official. [1] Beginning in December 2011, and continuing through January 2012, Hoang corruptly gave, offered, and promised United States currency to an IRS Revenue Agent with the intent to influence official acts. Specifically, Hoang intended to cause the Revenue Agent to falsely reduce the amount of tax due and owing with respect to an audit being conducted by the Revenue Agent of a business in New Hampshire owned by Hoang. [2]

    Sentencing is scheduled for July 10, 2013. [3]
    • [1] D.N.H. Crim. Docket filed Apr. 4, 2013.
    • [2] D.N.H. Info. filed Oct. 2, 2012.
    • [3] D.N.H. Crim. Docket filed Apr. 4, 2013.
    Jared Brewton Sentenced for Impersonating an IRS employee, Identity Theft, and Subscribing to False and Fraudulent Income Tax Returns

    Jared Brewton was sentenced for impersonating an IRS employee, identity theft, and subscribing to false and fraudulent income tax returns. [1]

    From 2006 through 2010, Brewton obtained false and fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS. To carry out his scheme, Brewton falsely posed as an employee of the IRS, claiming to be an “Audit Group Representative” named “Susan Waters.” When falsely posing as an employee of the IRS, Brewton sent letters to various employers demanding that the employers send him the names, contact information, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of employees. On at least one occasion, Brewton informed an employer that “identity theft is an [sic] an all-time high… [and that] [o]ur offices are making every effort to ensure that no possible identity theft can occur by [sending the personal identifying information].” [2]

    Brewton then prepared and sent false and fraudulent Federal tax returns and accompanying forms that contained Form W-2 information, such as income and withholding, that was falsely and fraudulently inflated, in the names of various other taxpayers without their knowledge or consent. Brewton received fraudulently-procured tax refunds, including those in the names of the other taxpayers, and used the refunds to purchase various personal items. [3] Brewton pled guilty on July 11, 2012. [4]

    On March 22, 2013, Brewton was sentenced in the Southern District of New York to 41-months in prison and three-years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $8,716.62 in restitution and a $600 special assessment. [5]
    • [1] S.D.N.Y. Judgment filed Mar. 25, 2013.
    • [2] S.D.N.Y. Crim. Indict. filed Jan. 25, 2012.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] S.D.N.Y. Judgment filed Mar. 25, 2013.
    • [5] Id.
    April 22, 2013

    Carlos Batista Sentenced for Misuse of Department of the Treasury Names and Symbols

    Carlos Batista was sentenced for misuse of the Department of the Treasury names and symbols. [1]

    In August 2009, Batista, in connection with a solicitation or business activity, knowingly used the words, letters, symbols, and emblems of the Department of the Treasury in a manner which could reasonably convey the false impression that such solicitation or business activity was authorized or associated with the Department of the Treasury.

    Specifically, Batista affixed the seal of the Department of the Treasury, IRS, on a letter dated August 24, 2009, which wrongfully represented that Batista owed the IRS $6,395. The purpose for obtaining $6,395 from his employer was so he could pay a purported debt to the IRS. [2]

    On February 13, 2013, Batista was sentenced in the District of Arizona and placed on one-year supervised probation, and ordered to pay $6,395 restitution to the victim and a $25 special assessment. [3]
    • [1] D. Ariz. Judgment filed Feb. 15, 2013.
    • [2] D. Ariz. Plea Agr. filed Feb. 13, 2013.
    • [3] D. Ariz. Judgment filed Feb. 15, 2013.
    Randy Huffaker Sentenced for Impeding Internal Revenue Laws and Filing False Liens or Encumbrances Against Government Officials

    Randy Huffaker was sentenced for impeding Internal Revenue laws and filing false liens or encumbrances against Government officials. [1]

    Huffaker filed, or attempted to file, false and fictitious liens or encumbrances against the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Comptroller of the Currency, both of whom are Government officials protected by Federal law. Huffaker filed these liens or encumbrances knowing that each lien or encumbrance was false and fictitious. Huffaker also repeatedly mailed extensive documents to the personal residence of the Commissioner regarding Huffaker’s tax debts, demanding action, and falsely claiming the Commissioner’s personal indebtedness to Huffaker. [2]

    Huffaker was sentenced on March 18, 2013, in the District of Utah, Central Division, to time served and 12-months supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $33,996 in restitution to the IRS and a $300 assessment for impeding Internal Revenue laws and filing false liens or encumbrances against Federal Government officials. [3] Huffaker had previously pled guilty to the charges on December 3, 2012. [4]

    • [1] D. Utah. Judgment filed Mar. 21, 2013.
    • [2] D. Utah. Stat. in Advance of Plea filed Dec. 3, 2012.
    • [3] D. Utah. Judgment filed Mar. 21, 2013.
    • [4] D. Utah. Crim. Docket filed Dec. 3, 2012.
    Elizabeth Cowart Sentenced for Attempting to Interfere With Administration of Internal Revenue Laws

    Elizabeth Cowart was sentenced for attempting to interfere with the administration of Internal Revenue laws. [1] In April 2012, Cowart telephoned the IRS’s Tax Help Line from Thomasville, Georgia. She spoke with an IRS contact representative to inquire about the status of her 2011 Federal income tax refund. Because Cowart was the victim of an identity theft, processing of her tax refund had been delayed. The IRS contact representative told her that she could expect to receive her refund by April 23, 2012. [2]

    Cowart was not satisfied with this answer and asked to speak with someone else. She was told that no one else was available but that she could go to her local walk-in office for assistance. Cowart then stated, "If it is not here on April 23rd, I'm going to go to my local ... local office with a machine gun; and I'm gonna shoot every *** body in there. I will go. Oh, I will." [3]

    Cowart pled guilty on December 12, 2012, to Count Two of the indictment; attempt to interfere with the administration of Internal Revenue laws. [4] She was sentenced on March 7, 2013, in the Middle District of Georgia, Albany Division, to 12 months’ probation and ordered to pay a $25 assessment. [5]

    This investigation was worked jointly with IRS-Criminal Investigation.
    • [1] M.D. Ga. Judgment filed Mar. 14, 2013.
    • [2] M.D. Ga. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 12, 2012.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] M.D. Ga. Minute Sheet: Change of Plea filed Dec. 12, 2012; M.D. Ga. Indict. filed Sept. 12, 2012.
    • [5] M.D. Ga. Judgment filed Mar. 14, 2013.
    Vihn Q. Tran Sentenced for Bribery of a Public Official

    Vihn Q. Tran, owner and operator of St. Vincent Seafood Co., Inc., a shrimp and seafood distributor in Leeville, Louisiana, [1] was sentenced for bribery of a public official. [2]

    In August 2007, an IRS agent delivered an appointment letter to Tran to schedule an IRS audit of Tran’s business. At the conclusion of the meeting, Tran offered the IRS agent lunch; however, the agent declined. As the IRS agent was walking away, Tran told him, “… I will take good care of you.” [3]

    In a subsequent meeting between Tran and the IRS agent, Tran told the IRS agent that he would take care of him if the IRS agent took care of Tran. Tran then asked the IRS agent to make sure he owed little or no taxes and to make the audit paperwork “clear.” [4] Tran offered $6,000 cash and other things of value to the IRS agent with the intent to influence an IRS audit being conducted of his seafood distribution business. [5] Tran made an initial bribe payment of $500 cash and 75 pounds of jumbo shrimp valued at approximately $400. Tran made additional cash payments to the agent totaling $5,500 during three meetings between June and August 2008. [6]

    In April 2011, TIGTA Special Agents interviewed Tran concerning the bribery payments he made to the IRS agent. Tran acknowledged he had made bribe payments over the course of several meetings. Tran also admitted that he was aware that what he was doing was against the law. [7] Tran pled guilty to bribery of a public official on January 5, 2012. [8] On March 7, 2013, in the Eastern District of Louisiana, Tran was sentenced to three-years of probation, to include six-months of home detention with electronic monitoring, and he was ordered to pay a $100 assessment for bribery of a public official. [9]
    • [1] E.D. La. Factual Basis filed Jan. 5, 2012.
    • [2] E.D. La. Judgment filed Mar. 7, 2013.
    • [3] E.D. La. Factual Basis filed Jan. 5, 2012.
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] E.D. La. Bill of Information filed Nov. 29, 2011.
    • [6] E.D. La. Factual Basis filed Jan. 5, 2012.
    • [7] Id.
    • [8] E.D. La. Plea letter filed Jan. 5, 2012.
    • [9] E.D. La. Judgment filed Mar. 7, 2013.
    Gavriel Murdukhayevich Aronov Sentenced for Illegal Gratuity to a Public Official and Structuring

    On February 19, 2013, Gavriel Murdukhayevich Aronov was sentenced in the District of Arizona for Illegal Gratuity to a Public Official and Structuring. [1] Aronov was previously indicted by a Federal grand jury, charging him with one-count of Bribery and nine-counts of Structuring. [2] Aronov pled guilty to Illegal Gratuity to a Public Official, a lesser included offense of Count One of the Indictment, and Structuring. [3]

    In the plea agreement, Aronov admitted that in April 2012, an IRS revenue agent was conducting an audit of Aronov's income tax returns for 2009 and 2010. During the course of the audit, the revenue agent determined that Aronov owed approximately $34,000 in additional unpaid taxes and penalties based in part on unreported income and debt cancellation. Aronov offered the revenue agent $5,000 in cash for the revenue agent to adjust the audit report to show zero tax liability. [4]

    Aronov also admitted that, on October 15, 2010, he entered a bank and stated that he wanted to deposit $40,000 in cash but did not want the transaction reported to the Government. Aronov asked the banker for ways to avoid the reporting requirements and then deposited the cash at a different bank in a series of transactions under $10,000. [5]

    Aronov was sentenced to three-years of probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and a $200 special assessment.
    • [1] D. Ariz. Judgment filed Feb. 20, 2013.
    • [2] D. Ariz. Indictment filed June 5, 2012.
    • [3] D. Ariz. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 6, 2012
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] Id.
    James Lee Dardy Sentenced for Conspiracy to Steal Tax Remittance Checks

    On January 30, 2013, in the Southern District of Florida, James Lee Dardy was sentenced to five years’ probation, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, and ordered to participate in the Home Detention Electronic Monitoring Program for one year. Dardy was also ordered to pay $21,152 restitution and a $100 assessment for conspiracy to commit theft of public money and property. [1]

    According to court documents, between approximately June 2011 and October 2011, Dardy worked as a mailroom clerk in an IRS branch office located in Miami, Florida. In approximately June 2011, Dardy and a co-conspirator agreed to steal checks that had been mailed to the IRS branch office at which Dardy worked and they agreed to share the stolen money. Dardy stole checks made payable to the IRS from the IRS mailroom and provided them to his co-conspirator. [2]

    The co-conspirator altered the name on the payee line of the tax remittance checks. He, or an individual acting at his direction, deposited the stolen checks into a bank account belonging to another co-conspirator. The illicit proceeds were dispersed to the co-conspirators by wire transfer and postal money order. [3]
    • [1] S.D. Fla. Judgment filed Feb. 1, 2013.
    • [2] S.D. Fla. Stipulated Factual Proffer filed Nov. 5, 2012.
    • [3] S.D. Fla. Indict. filed Sept. 25, 2012.
    Cynthia Lewis Sentenced for Unauthorized Disclosure of Tax Return Information

    On February 11, 2013, in the Eastern District of California, Cynthia Lewis was sentenced to 24-months’ probation and ordered to pay a $100 assessment for unauthorized disclosure of tax return information by a Federal employee. [1]

    According to court documents, Lewis, an IRS employee, willfully disclosed tax return or return information to other persons without authorization to do so. The unauthorized disclosures began in about October 2010 and continued to about March 2011. [2] On August 16, 2012, Lewis was indicted by a grand jury for the violation. [3] On November 19, 2012, she pled guilty. [4]
    • [1] E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Feb. 12, 2013.
    • [2] E.D. Cal. Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed Oct. 31, 2012; and E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Aug. 16, 2012.
    • [3] E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Aug. 16, 2012.
    • [4] E.D. Cal. Crim. Docket filed Nov. 27, 2012.
    March 18, 2013

    Gavriel Murdukhayevich Aronov Sentenced for Illegal Gratuity to a Public Official and Structuring

    On February 19, 2013, Gavriel Murdukhayevich Aronov was sentenced, in the District of Arizona, for Illegal Gratuity to a Public Official and Structuring. [1] Aronov was previously indicted by a Federal grand jury, charging him with one-count of Bribery and nine-counts of Structuring. [2] Aronov pled guilty to Illegal Gratuity to a Public Official, a lesser included offense of Count One of the Indictment, and Structuring. [3]

    In the plea agreement, Aronov admitted that in April 2012, an IRS revenue agent was conducting an audit of Aronov's income tax returns for 2009 and 2010. During the course of the audit, the revenue agent determined that Aronov owed approximately $34,000 in additional unpaid taxes and penalties based in part on unreported income and debt cancellation. Aronov offered the revenue agent $5,000 in cash to adjust the audit report to show a zero tax liability. [4]

    Aronov also admitted that, on October 15, 2010, he entered a bank and stated that he wanted to deposit $40,000 in cash but did not want the transaction reported to the Government. Aronov asked the banker for ways to avoid the reporting requirements and then deposited the cash at a different bank in a series of transactions under $10,000. [5]

    Aronov was sentenced to three-years of probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and a $200 special assessment. [6]

    • [1] D. Ariz. Judgment filed Feb. 20, 2013.
    • [2] D. Ariz. Indictment filed June 5, 2012.
    • [3] D. Ariz. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 6, 2012
    • [4] Id.
    • [5] Id.
    • [6] D. Ariz. Judgment filed Feb. 20, 2013.
    James Lee Dardy Sentenced for Conspiracy to Steal Tax Remittance Checks

    On January 30, 2013, in the Southern District of Florida, James Lee Dardy was sentenced to five-years of probation, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, and ordered to participate in the Home Detention Electronic Monitoring Program for one year. Dardy was also ordered to pay $21,152 restitution and a $100 assessment for conspiracy to commit theft of public money and property. [1] According to court documents, between approximately June 2011 and October 2011, Dardy worked as a mailroom clerk in an IRS branch office located in Miami, Florida. In approximately June 2011, Dardy and a co-conspirator agreed to steal checks that had been mailed to the IRS branch office at which Dardy worked and they agreed to share the stolen money. Dardy stole checks made payable to the IRS from the IRS mailroom and provided them to his co-conspirator. [2] The co-conspirator altered the name on the payee line of the tax remittance checks. He, or an individual acting at his direction, deposited the stolen checks into a bank account belonging to another co-conspirator. The illicit proceeds were dispersed to the co-conspirators by wire transfer and postal money order. [3]
    • [1] S.D. Fla. Judgment filed Feb. 1, 2013.
    • [2] S.D. Fla. Stipulated Factual Proffer filed Nov. 5, 2012.
    • [3] S.D. Fla. Indict. filed Sept. 25, 2012.
    Cynthia Lewis Sentenced for Unauthorized Disclosure of Tax Return Information

    On February 11, 2013, in the Eastern District of California, Cynthia Lewis was sentenced to 24-months of probation and ordered to pay a $100 assessment for unauthorized disclosure of tax return information by a Federal employee. [1]

    According to court documents, Lewis, an IRS employee, willfully disclosed tax return or return information to other persons without authorization to do so. The unauthorized disclosures began in about October 2010 and continued to about March 2011. [2]

    On August 16, 2012, Lewis was indicted by a grand jury for the violation. [3] On November 19, 2012, she pled guilty to the unauthorized disclosure of tax return information. [4]

    • [1] E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Feb. 12, 2013.
    • [2] E.D. Cal. Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed Oct. 31, 2012; and E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Aug. 16, 2012.
    • [3] E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Aug. 16, 2012.
    • [4] E.D. Cal. Crim. Docket filed Nov. 27, 2012.
    Cynthia Reid Sentenced for Conspiracy to Embezzle Treasury Checks

    On January 14, 2013, in the Southern District of New York, Cynthia Reid (also known as Cynthia Richardson) was sentenced to probation for a term of two years and ordered to pay $11,512 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a $25 assessment for conspiracy to embezzle Treasury checks. [1]

    According to court documents, as part of a scheme, Reid received United States Treasury checks at the direction of an IRS employee. The IRS employee used her position to access IRS databases to have refund checks owed to defunct businesses made out to individuals with whom the IRS employee had relationships. The IRS employee directed these refund checks to various individuals, including Reid. Reid deposited the checks into a bank account under the name of her company, cashed the checks, got a small cut from each check, and then remitted the balance to the IRS employee. [2]
    • [1] S.D.N.Y. Judgment filed Jan. 14, 2013; and S.D.N.Y. Information filed Aug. 13, 2012.
    • [2] S.D.N.Y. Sentencing Submission filed Jan. 11, 2013.
    February 5, 2013

    Alaska Couple Sentenced for Conspiracy to Murder Federal Officials

    On January 7, 2013, in the District of Alaska, Lonnie and Karen Vernon (the Vernons) were sentenced for conspiracy to kill a United States District Court Judge and an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Revenue Officer while engaged in the performance of their official duties. Lonnie Vernon’s sentence also included conspiracy to possess unregistered silencers and destructive devices. [1]

    Lonnie Vernon was sentenced to 310 months of imprisonment. [2] Karen Vernon was sentenced to a prison term of 144 months. [3] Upon release from imprisonment, both of the Vernons will be on supervised release for a term of five years. Lonnie and Karen Vernon were also ordered to pay $200 and $100 assessments respectively. [4]

    According to court documents, in 2008, the IRS recorded Federal tax liens against the Vernons as a result of their failing to pay taxes to the IRS over the course of several years. In 2009, the United States filed a civil tax case against the Vernons alleging that they owed approximately $165,750 and seeking to foreclose its Federal tax liens against real property belonging to the Vernons. The United States sought to reduce the tax assessments to judgment, foreclose its liens, sell the property belonging to the Vernons, and apply the proceeds toward their tax liabilities. [5]

    In 2011, Lonnie Vernon purchased a pistol/silencer combination and two hand grenades, not knowing at the time that they were inert. [6]

    • [1] D. Alaska Judgment (Karen Vernon) filed Jan. 8, 2013; D. Alaska Judgment (Lonnie Vernon) filed Jan. 8, 2013; D. Alaska First Superseding Indict. filed Mar. 17, 2011; and D. Alaska Third Superseding Indict. filed Jan. 20, 2012.
    • [2] D. Alaska Judgment (Lonnie Vernon) filed Jan. 8, 2013.
    • [3] D. Alaska Judgment (Karen Vernon) filed Jan. 8, 2013.
    • [4] D. Alaska Judgment (Karen Vernon) filed Jan. 8, 2013; D. Alaska Judgment (Lonnie Vernon) filed Jan. 8, 2013.
    • [5] D. Alaska Plea Agr. (Karen Vernon) filed Aug. 27, 2012; D. Alaska Plea Agr. (Lonnie Vernon) filed Aug. 27, 2012.
    • [6] D. Alaska Third Superseding Indict. filed Jan. 20, 2012.
    Jason Bowser Sentenced for Threat Against a Federal Official

    On December 19, 2012, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Jason Bowser was sentenced to time served for making a threat against a Federal official. Bowser was also ordered to pay a $200 fine and a $25 assessment. [1]

    According to court documents, on or about March 1, 2012, Bowser threatened to assault and murder IRS agents, with the intent to impede, intimidate, and interfere with the agents while engaged in performance of their official duties. [2]
    • [1] M.D.P. Judgment filed Dec 19, 2012.
    • [2] M.D.P. Indictment filed April 25, 2012.
    January 16, 2013

    Gavriel Murdukhayevich Aronov Pleads Guilty to Illegal Gratuity to a Public Official and Structuring

    On December 6, 2012, in the District of Arizona, Phoenix Division, Gavriel Murdukhayevich Aronov pled guilty to illegal gratuity to a public official and structuring. [1]

    According to the plea agreement, on October 15, 2010, Aronov entered a bank and stated that he wanted to deposit $40,000 in cash, but that he did not want the transaction reported to the Government. Aronov asked the banker for ways to avoid the reporting requirements. He then deposited the cash at a different bank in a series of transactions under $10,000, including a deposit of $9,500 on October 15, 2010. [2]

    In April 2012, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revenue agent was conducting an audit of Aronov's income tax returns for 2009 and 2010. During the course of the audit, the revenue agent determined that Aronov owed approximately $34,000 in additional unpaid taxes and penalties based in part on unreported income and debt cancellation. On April 20, 2012, Aronov offered the revenue agent $5,000 in cash for the revenue agent to adjust the audit report to show a zero tax liability. [3]

    Sentencing is scheduled for February 19, 2013. [4]

    • [1] D. Ariz. Criminal Docket filed June 5, 2012.
    • [2] D. Ariz. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 6, 2012.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] D. Ariz. Criminal Docket filed June 5, 2012.

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