Three Central Valley defendants in a criminal tax refund scheme lawsuit have been sentenced to serve prison time, according to the Office of the United States Attorney for California’s Eastern District.
According to the statement, the following defendants were sentenced Monday:
- Gaylene Lynnette Bolanos, 58, of Fresno
- Leroy Donovan Combs, 74, of Fresno
- Charles Wayne Uptergrove, 57, of Madera County
- Ladonna Lee Moon, 55, of Texas
According to the statement, Bolanos, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and ordered to pay $429,300 in restitution. Combs was reportedly sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, Uptergrove was sentenced to three years and three months in prison, and Moon was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison.
According to officials, three other co-defendants in the case pleaded guilty to submitting false claims. They were identified as:
- Louis Calles, 67, of Fresno
- James Schwartz, 61, of Fresno
- Oswald Georgner
Calles and Schwartz, according to the statement, were sentenced to 16 months and a year and a day in prison, respectively, on February 29. Georgner was sentenced to 18 months in prison, on January 11.
According to the statement, court documents and trial testimonies showed that Bolanos and Georgner, with the help of the co-defendants, submitted false tax returns in an effort to eliminate their debts, and receive sizeable tax refunds. According to officials, the tax returns were fraudulent, because the defendants listed their debts, bills, and other non-income items items and interest income, and them claimed that almost all of that interest income had been withheld, and paid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Based on the reported withholdings, the defendants claimed they were owed millions of dollars in refunds, and they were reportedly seeking more than $33 million in refunds.