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Guilty plea in $313,000 tax fraud

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POSTED August 7, 2014 1:56 a.m.

A 57-year-old Manteca woman pled guilty this week to charges of filing false claims for her federal income tax returns.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California said Esther Lynne Robertson entered a plea agreement in Sacramento stipulating that in 2008 her tax preparer suggested a way for her to obtain money from the government by claiming larger refunds based on fictitious Form 1099-OID withholdings.

Wagner’s press release said that because of that suggestion by the preparer, Robertson filed two false federal income tax returns — one for the 2005 tax year claiming a $90,538 refund and a second for the 2007 tax year claiming a $313,248 refund.

Based on the false statements, the IRS sent Robertson a check for $313,248. In February 2009, the IRS located the error and then issued a levy to Robertson’s bank for the balance in the bank account. Later, in the late summer of 2011, Robertson filed a false lien against the property of the IRS commissioner, the report stated.

“Filing of false claims to the Internal Revenue Service to inflate your tax refund is a crime taken very seriously by the IRS-CI,” said Jose M. Martinez, special agent in charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.

“This is not your typical false claims case against the government — it exceeded most salaries of hard-working, tax-abiding citizens. IRS-CI will partner with the other divisions within the IRS to collect the funds stolen by the Robertsons,” he explained.

Robertson is scheduled for sentencing over a year from now on Sept. 23, 2015 by U.S. District Judge Kimberley J. Mueller. Robertson faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

The actual sentence will be at the discretion of the court following any applicable statutory factors and in following with the federal sentencing guidelines which take into account a number of variables. 

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