Former IRS Employee Pleads Guilty to Claiming $1.7M in Fraudulent Tax Refunds
The Internal Revenue Service, which has made a concerted effort in recent years to pursue tax preparers engaged in filing fraudulent tax returns, may need to focus attention within its own ranks as well.
A former Internal Revenue Service employee has pleaded guilty to stealing identities from an IRS Service Center in Fresno, Calif., and using them to claim more than $1,745,000 in fraudulent tax refunds and obtain more than $175,000 in refunds from the IRS, According to Accounting Today.
Monica Nanette Hernandez, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of filing false income tax returns, one count of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
While employed as a part-time data entry clerk, Hernandez filed three tax returns for herself claiming excessive federal tax withholdings as a result of falsely claimed interest and dividend income, according to prosecutors. In addition, in April 2010, Hernandez stole 68 tax returns from the IRS Service Center in Fresno and filed fraudulent tax returns using information from the stolen tax returns to claim excessive federal tax withholdings.
Hernandez faces up to 38 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, but the sentence is likely to be less under the plea agreement.