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March 27, 2019

IRS Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Property [1]

On January 31, 2019, in the Central District of California, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) supervisor Leslie Williams pled guilty to two counts of theft of Government property. Williams was initially indicted for the offenses and arrested by special agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) in March 2018.

According to the court documents, at all times relevant to the charges, Williams was employed by the IRS as a supervisory individual tax advisory specialist in the Long Beach, California office. Beginning on or about February 12, 2016, Williams knowingly and willfully embezzled, stole, and converted for her own use Federal funds as the purported surviving spouse of her ex-husband, who had died on about January 22, 2016, and from whom she had been divorced since about November 15, 2013. Specifically, Williams claimed that, as the alleged surviving spouse, she was entitled to receive death benefit payments issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), as well as retirement plan contributions issued by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB). In total, Williams stole $34,204.50 from OPM and $36,861 from FRTIB.

Additionally, on February 14, 2017, when interviewed by TIGTA special agents, Williams allegedly made a materially false statement by continuing to claim that she was married to her ex-spouse until his death, when, in fact, Williams knew she had been divorced since about November 15, 2013.

Williams could face a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for June 3, 2019.

  • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: C.D. Cal. Indict. filed Mar. 21, 2018; C.D. Cal. Executed Arrest Warrant filed. Mar. 22, 2018; C.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 31, 2019; C.D. Cal. Crim. Docket as of Feb. 5, 2019.


  • Michigan Man Sentenced to More Than 13 Years in Prison for Scheme to Defraud the IRS [1]

    On January 29, 2019, in the Western District of Michigan, Oghenevwakpo Igboba was sentenced for conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, false claims, and aggravated identity theft. Igboba was initially indicted for the offenses and arrested by special agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in February 2017.

    According to the court documents, from at least December 2014 to about February 2016, Igboba conspired with others to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by knowingly devising and participating in a scheme to obtain income tax refunds by means of fraudulent representations. Igboba coordinated the conspiracy, which involved at least five participants, including his father, his sister, codefendant Charles Aghogho Ejinyere, and other individuals

    As part of the scheme, Igboba and his coconspirators obtained personally identifiable information (PII), including the names, dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security Numbers, and familial information of numerous unrelated individuals. Using that PII, Igboba and others illegally accessed online IRS systems, including eAuthentication and Get Transcript, to obtain additional tax-related information for the individuals. They then filed or caused to be filed without authorization fraudulent tax returns with the IRS in the names of the individuals. Igboba and coconspirator Ejinyere directed refunds from the fraudulent returns to be deposited into bank and credit union accounts belonging to Igboba, his businesses, his family members, associates, and unwitting accomplices.

    In September 2018, a jury found Igboba guilty of 18 counts of the 22-count indictment. The intended loss for the fraudulent tax refunds totaled more than $4 million.

    Igboba was sentenced to 162 months’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. He was further ordered to pay $514,823 in restitution to the IRS and to forfeit $48,205.

    • [1]The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: W.D. Mich. Indict. filed Feb. 7, 2017; W.D. Mich. Govt. Trial Brief filed Apr. 6, 2018; W.D. Mich. Verdict Form filed Sep. 17, 2018; W.D. Mich. Govt. Sentencing Memorandum filed Jan. 23, 2019; W.D. Mich. Judgment filed Jan. 31, 2019; W.D. Mich. Crim. Docket as of Feb. 5, 2019.


    • New Jersey Tax Preparer Sentenced in Scheme Involving Filing of False Tax Returns and Bank Fraud [1]

      On December 21, 2018, in the District of New Jersey, tax preparer Brian A. Day was sentenced in connection with a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and misappropriate his clients’ monies by the filing of false tax returns and bank fraud. Day previously pled guilty to the offenses in August 2018.

      According to the court documents, Day, a resident of Port Murray, New Jersey, was self-employed as a tax return preparer. He was the sole owner and operator of various tax preparation businesses located in Essex County, New Jersey, including PTS, Tax Consultants, and Tax Consultants, LLC. Day met with taxpayers and collected information relating to the preparation of their individual income tax returns.

      Day knowingly and intentionally executed a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of false and fraudulent representations. The purpose of the scheme was for Day to misappropriate money from his taxpayer clients by falsely advising them that they owed tax payments to the IRS and directing them to give him checks made payable to the IRS in order to resolve their purported IRS liabilities. In fact, Day did not actually give the checks from his taxpayer clients to the IRS. Instead, he altered the names of the payees on the checks from the “IRS” to names matching or resembling that of one of his tax preparation businesses and deposited the checks into his own business bank account. Day made false or fraudulent representations to at least five individuals, resulting in a total loss of approximately $124,289.

      According to the indictment, when Day’s clients contacted him regarding their checks, he presented fraudulent documents purportedly issued by the IRS to two of the taxpayers in an attempt to conceal and further his fraud. However, the IRS never issued these documents. Additionally, Day prepared or presented at least 21 fraudulent and false tax returns to the IRS for Tax Years 2009 through 2015, resulting in a loss to the IRS of approximately $491,007.

      Day was sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment, followed by five years’ supervised release. He was further ordered to forfeit $61,000, pay $499,997.72 in restitution, and pay a special assessment fee of $800.

      • [1]The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: D.N.J. Indict. filed Feb. 1, 2017; D.N.J. Plea Agr. filed Aug. 1, 2018; D.N.J. Consent Judgment and Order of Forfeiture filed Aug. 1, 2018; and D.N.J. Judgment filed Dec. 21, 2018.


      • February 28, 2019

        California Man Pleads Guilty to Misuse of the Department of the Treasury Symbol [1]

        On December 11, 2018, in the Central District of California, Cody Jannetti pled guilty to misusing a U.S. Treasury symbol in association with a false release of levy. Jannetti was initially charged with the offense on November 1, 2018. November 8, 2018, in the Middle District of Florida, former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Dawn Avalle pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and making and subscribing to a false tax return. Avalle was initially charged with the offenses on October 24, 2018.

        According to the court documents, Jannetti owed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approximately $107,000 in delinquent taxes. In late 2016, the IRS issued a levy on Jannetti’s income to his employer, Loan Depot.

        Jannetti manipulated an IRS Release of Levy on his work computer and forged the signature of an IRS employee. Additionally, Jannetti changed the fax header to note that it had been sent from the IRS, when Jannetti had faxed it to himself from a Federal Express office. On or about January 5, 2017, Jannetti then faxed the false IRS levy release to Loan Depot in order to convey the impression that his tax lien was released and that he could have access to his income.

        Jannetti could face a maximum statutory sentence of one year in prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000 for each use. Sentencing has been scheduled for February 25, 2019.

        • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: C.D. Cal. Information filed Nov. 1, 2018; C.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed Nov. 1, 2018; C.D. Cal. Crim. Docket as of Dec. 12, 2018.


        • Georgia Man Offers IRS Employee $30,000 to Falsify Audit Results [1]

          On November 6, 2018, in the Northern District of Georgia, Magdaleno Garcia Alonso was indicted for corruptly offering a thing of value to an employee of the United States. Alonso was subsequently arrested for the offense on November 10, 2018, by special agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

          According to the court documents, on or about September 19, 2018, Alonso offered an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revenue agent $30,000, with the intent to induce the revenue agent to commit an act in violation of his or her lawful duties, that is, to falsify the results of audits of Alonso’s and Georgia Concrete, Incorporated’s Federal income tax returns for tax years 2015 and 2016.

          Alonso is detained pending trial and could face a maximum statutory sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.

          • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: N.D. Ga. Indict. filed Nov. 6, 2018; N.D. Ga. Order of Detention filed Nov. 13, 2018; N.D. Ga. Executed Arrest Warrant filed Nov. 19, 2018; N.D. Ga. Crim. Docket as of Nov. 28, 2018.


          • California Man Pleads Guilty for His Role in an Impersonation Scam [1]

            On October 23, 2018, in the District of Minnesota, Yu Zhang pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with an interstate scheme to defraud by falsely impersonating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees. Zhang was indicted for the offense in July 2018.

            According to the court documents, from at least March 12, 2018 to June 8, 2018, Zhang conspired with others to participate in a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by material false and fraudulent pretenses. Zhang’s coconspirators contacted victims in numerous States throughout the country by telephone, falsely claimed to be IRS agents or other Government officials, and threatened the victims with arrest unless they made immediate payment for delinquent taxes.

            The callers instructed the victims to go to Target™, purchase gift cards, and provide the gift card numbers and activation codes to the callers over the phone. Zhang, at the direction of his coconspirators, traveled to Target stores in multiple States, including Minnesota, Illinois, and Colorado, to redeem the Target gift cards by purchasing third-party gift cards. In order to redeem a Target gift card, a coconspirator would send Zhang a message on his cell phone containing the gift card number and redemption code immediately after the victim had purchased it. Zhang would then redeem the card within minutes of receiving the message by scanning a bar code displayed on his cell phone. To avoid detection by Target personnel, Zhang would use the self-checkout registers for his transactions and would travel to multiple Target stores each day.

            For example, according to the indictment, on May 31, 2018, an individual claiming to be an IRS employee contacted a victim in Iowa, said the victim owed more than $4,000 in taxes, and threatened the victim with arrest. The IRS impersonator then demanded that the victim go to the nearest Target store and purchase two $2,000 gift cards, which the scammer claimed that the IRS used as “Taxpayer Identification Forms.” The victim complied, used cash to purchase the gift cards, and provided the card numbers and activation codes to the IRS impersonator. The impersonator then instructed the victim to purchase an additional gift card for $2,000, to have the “arrest warrant” removed. The victim purchased a third $2,000 gift card.

            Target surveillance cameras showed the victim leaving the Target store in Iowa after purchasing the third gift card. Thirty minutes later, Zhang used that same gift card at a Target store in Minnesota to purchase $1,000 worth of prepaid third-party gift cards issued by Google Play™ and Steam™. He then traveled to another Target store in Minnesota and used the remaining $1,000 to purchase additional Google Play and Steam cards. Zhang was arrested at a Target store in Andover, Minnesota, and at the time of his arrest had in his possession several hundred third-party gift cards worth tens of thousands of dollars.

            Zhang knew the funds he was handling were obtained through criminal activities and admitted that between May 28, 2018 and June 8, 2018, he had redeemed approximately $240,000 worth of Target gift cards by conducting hundreds of transactions. He further admitted that between March 1, 2018 and May 28, 2018, he had traveled to Colorado and conducted more than $10,000 in similar transactions.

            Zhang could face a maximum statutory sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment. His sentencing is set for February 27, 2019.

            • [1] The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: D. Minn. Crim. Compl. filed June 8, 2018; D. Minn. Indict. filed July 10, 2018; D. Minn. Plea Agr. filed Oct.23, 2018; D. Minn. Crim. Docket as of Dec. 7, 2018.



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