FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A former IRS employee from Fresno has been found guilty of fraud and identity theft, officials with the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Friday.
Court documents say a federal jury found 41-year-old Deena Vang Lee of Fresno guilty 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.
DOJ officials say evidence presented at trial, from 2012 through 2016 shows Lee willfully prepared and filed tax returns for other individuals that contained materially false and fraudulent statements and underreported her taxable income on her personal tax returns.
Additionally, prosecutors say in her role as a tax preparer, Lee would put false information on the customer’s tax return without their knowledge or consent and submit the returns to the IRS.
According to authorities, as part of this scheme, Lee obtained the identification of multiple individuals and falsely listed their individuals as childcare providers on multiple customers’ tax returns without their knowledge or consent.
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.J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
Lee also underreported her own income related to the payments she received for tax preparation services on her personal tax returns for tax years 2013, 2014, and 2015, according to DOJ authorities.
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. We are 100% committed to our tax administration and enforcement mission and will pursue anyone who break the law.Darren Lian, Special Agent in Charge with IRS Criminal Investigation’s Oakland Field Office
Lee is scheduled to be sentenced on May 8, 2023, she may face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the wire fraud counts. Three years in prison and a $250,0000 fine for each of the preparing and presenting false returns counts; three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the making and subscribing a false tax return counts; and a two-year consecutive mandatory minimum sentence for the aggravated identity theft counts.