Sewell Pleads Guilty to Helping File Fraudulent Tax Returns Claiming $2M in Refunds

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Guam – Immaculata Sewell of Dededo has pleaded guilty to 9 counts of aiding and assisting 574 individuals to file fradulent tax returns claiming just over $2-million dollars in tax refunds.

According to the amended plea agreement filed Thursday, the  returns were filed between 2008 and 2010. Most of  them falsely claimed the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and additional Child Tax Credit (CTC), which falsely inflated the amount of the tax refunds.

READ Sewell Plea agreement HERE

All the returns also used false mainland  U. S. addresses to appear eligible for the income tax refunds.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney for Guam, Alicia Limtiaco, Sewell knew that none of the tax returns actually entitled her or any of the other Guam resident taxpayers to claim EIC, CTC and receive an IRS refund.

Sewell will be sentenced on September 20.

In response to Sewell’s guilty plea, the IRS Special Agent in Charge of Guam, Kenneth J. Hines, released the following statement:

“This guilty plea should serve as a warning for those who prey on the residents of Guam for selfish financial gain. Over the past several years, the number of individuals throughout Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands who have been prosecuted by IRS for tax crimes has grown.  The IRS will not tire from this task and we will continue to seek out and bring to justice those who victimize others.”

READ the U.S. Attorney’s release below:

GUAM RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY IN FRAUDULENT FEDERAL INCOME TAX REFUND SCHEME

ALICIA A. G. LIMTIACO, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that IMMACULATA SEWELL, pled guilty today in the U.S. District Court, to nine counts of aiding and assisting in the filing of false and fraudulent federal income tax returns, and to two counts of making and subscribing to a false tax return. SEWELL is scheduled to be sentenced on September 20, 2012 at 9:30
AM.

Beginning March 22, 2009 and continuing until August 4, 2011, SEWELL filed and caused to be filed electronically with the IRS 574 U. S. individual and joint federal income tax returns, including her own returns, for the tax years 2008 through 2010 which contained materially false and fictitious information. Most of the returns claimed the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and additional Child Tax Credit (CTC), which falsely inflated the amount of the tax refunds. All the returns also used false mainland U. S. addresses to appear eligible for the income tax refunds. SEWELL knew that none of the tax returns actually entitled her and any of the other Guam resident taxpayers to claim EIC, CTC and receive an IRS refund.

All of the tax returns involved in this scheme and filed by SEWELL listed either her sister’s post office box address or her sister’s residential address, both of which were in Spokane, Washington. A Guam address would cause any electronically filed tax return to be rejected and not processed by the IRS.

The tax refunds ranged from amounts as low as $125 to as high as $10,650 per taxpayer. The amount of tax loss to the United States is  approximately $2,031,607.

Sewell faces a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the 11 counts described above.

“This guilty plea should serve as a warning for those who prey on the residents of Guam for selfish financial gain,” said Kenneth J. Hines, the IRS Special Agent in Charge of Guam. “Over the past several years, the number of individuals throughout Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands who have been prosecuted by IRS for tax crimes has grown.

The IRS will not tire from this task and we will continue to seek out and bring to justice those who victimize others.”

U.S. Attorney Limtiaco stated, “People who create schemes to defraud the IRS run the risk of prosecution and the IRS-Criminal Investigation with the support of the United States Attorney’s Office will continue to shut down fraudulent IRS tax schemes and hold promoters of these schemes accountable for their actions.”

The case was investigated by the IRS – Criminal Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Marivic David.