SESSIONS and DOJ bust group of people in IRS fraud scheme

Jeff Sessions continues to rack up the wins.

The Department of Justice announced Thursday the indictment of five individuals in California, charging them with stealing over $9 million from the Internal Revenue Service in fraudulent tax returns and bank fraud.

The announcement does not indicate how long the scam has been ongoing but reports that the five charged individuals filed fraudulent tax returns that contained fake income, false dependents, and false education expenses in order to receive tax refunds.

The IRS was directed to send the refunds to bank accounts and addresses controlled by the five suspects, who forged endorsements and deposited or cashed the refund checks in Northern California at various businesses and banks.

The report does not reveal the citizenship status of the five individuals indicted, but identified them as follows:

  • Jorge Vissani
  • Jacqueline Ramos, a/k/a Jackie Acosta
  • Ana Bajo, a/k/a Ana Cobraubias
  • Norma Morfin
  • Antonio Ahumada

All defendants, if convicted, face a possible maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiracy, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. Ramos and Ahumada also face a possible 30-year prison sentence for bank fraud, the Justice Department reported.

Special agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit reportedly conducted the investigation into the scam. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael G. Pitman and trial attorney Gregory Bernstein of the tax division.

The Justice Department (DOJ) has been going after IRS fraud from many different angles. In July, the DOJ announced that two additional defendants had pleaded guilty in a massive, multi-million-dollar scam wherein an India-based call center had been targeting American citizens, pretending to be calling from the IRS in order to trick victims into sending money.

Here is the official press release:

Five Individuals Indicted in California for Allegedly Stealing More Than $9 Million in Tax Refunds

A grand jury in the Northern District of California returned an indictment, which was unsealed today, charging five individuals with conspiring to submit fraudulent claims for tax refunds, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California. Two of the individuals were also indicted for bank fraud.

According to the indictment and information provided to the court, Jorge Vissani, Jacqueline Ramos a/k/a Jackie Acosta, Ana Bajo a/k/a Ana Cobraubias, Norma Morfin and Antonio Ahumada filed fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that included fake income, false dependents and bogus education expenses. As a result of filing these fraudulent returns, the defendants are alleged to have stolen more than $9 million in tax refunds. The indictment alleges that the defendants directed the IRS to send the refunds to addresses and bank accounts that they controlled. According to the indictment, they forged endorsements and cashed or deposited the refund checks at financial institutions and businesses in Northern California.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy count. Ramos and Ahumada also face a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on the bank fraud counts. They also face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Stretch thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael G. Pitman and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.

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