Accused of wire and tax fraud, as well as identity theft, Deena Vang Lee of Fresno wanted her day in federal court.
The former IRS employee got three days actually, and the jury found her guilty on more than a dozen counts Thursday.
“The jury found that this defendant who operated a tax preparation business willfully prepared and filed tax returns for her clients that were false and underreported her own taxable income,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert in a news release. “Her scheme to use the tax system to generate larger refunds than deserved came to an end.”
Lee, 41, is scheduled for sentencing on May 8 by U.S. District Judge Ana de Alba.
Tax Returns Included Fake Deductions
According to evidence presented at trial, from 2012 through 2016, Lee prepared tax returns for a fee for friends, family, and other acquaintances that falsely claimed thousands of dollars in tax credits for education and childcare expenses. Lee also submitted fraudulent tax returns on her own behalf, failing to report the income from her business.
A federal grand jury indicted her on 18 counts in April 2019.
“Taxpayers put trust in tax preparers to prepare their tax returns in accordance with the law. It is unacceptable for tax preparers to break this confidence by submitting fraudulent returns in their clients’ names,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alex Dempsey and Henry Carbajal are the prosecutors.