SAN JOSE – A federal grand jury in San Jose indicted five Salinas residents, charging them with conspiracy to submit fraudulent tax returns to the IRS, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.
According to the indictment, issued on July 13, 2017, and unsealed yesterday, Jorge Vissani, Jacqueline Ramos, Ana Bajo, Norma Morfin, and Antonio Ahumada stole money from the United States by filing false tax returns which claimed fraudulent income tax refunds. The indictment alleges that the defendants directed the IRS to send the fraudulent tax refunds to addresses or bank accounts the defendants controlled. Once the defendants received fraudulent tax refund checks, they cashed or deposited the checks at financial institution and businesses in Northern California. The scheme resulted in the issuance of fraudulent tax refunds worth approximately $9,000,000 during 2011 and 2012. Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to submit false claims, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286. Ramos and Ahumada were also charged with bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344.
Ramos, Bajo, Morfin, and Ahumada were arrested yesterday in Salinas. They made their initial appearance in federal court in San Jose before the Honorable Nathanael M. Cousins, U.S. Magistrate Judge. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for August 4, 2017 at 1:30 PM before Judge Cousins.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to file false claims, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286, is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344, is 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant United States Attorney Michael G. Pitman and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein are prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Northern District of California