FRESNO — A Fresno tax preparer and former employee of the Internal Revenue Service was found guilty Thursday of filing false and fraudulent tax returns for clients and for herself.
Deena Vang Lee, 41, was found guilty Thursday of three counts of wire fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, five counts of preparing and presenting false and fraudulent returns, and three counts of making and subscribing a false and fraudulent tax return, U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert said a press release.
Between 2012 and 2016, Lee filed tax returns for people as part of her tax preparation business, using false information and underreporting income to obtain larger tax refunds, according to trial evidence. The fraudulent info was submitted without the customers’ knowledge, the evidence showed.
In addition, Lee obtained the personal information of multiple people and falsely listed them as child care providers on multiple customers’ tax returns without their knowledge. Lee also underreported her own income derived from her tax prep service on her personal tax returns.
“Our absolute priority at the IRS is to serve the taxpayers in a manner that fosters confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law,” said IRS Special Agent in Charge Darren Lian in a prepared statement. “We hold our employees to an even higher standard of expectations and compliance. Unfortunately, Deena Lee betrayed her duty and the trust the American public gave her and suffered the appropriate consequences.”
Lee faces a maximum 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each wire fraud count; a maximum three years in prison and $250,000 fine for each false tax return count, and a two-year consecutive mandatory minimum sentence for the identity theft counts.
Her sentencing, which will take into account the court’s discretion and federal sentencing guidelines, was scheduled for May 8.
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