Source: US State of California
FRESNO, Calif. — On Thursday, a federal jury convicted Marcela Heredia, 46, of Riverside, of seven counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of making a false tax return, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents and evidence introduced at trial, Heredia worked at the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission’s Transitional Living Center, which houses at-risk youth, until 2014. Heredia also worked at the IRS as a Tax Examiner between 2008 and 2014. While working at the Transitional Living Center, Heredia stole residents’ personal identifying information and filed numerous tax returns that included false wage and withholding information, false educational expenses, and other false entries. Heredia directed the refunds for those returns to her personal bank account, spending the money on various personal expenses. Heredia failed to report any of the refund money she directed into her account on her 2011 tax return.
“Heredia misused her position of trust as a Youth Care Specialist to feed her greed by stealing the identities of the young homeless adults she cared for and using those identities to file fraudulent tax returns,” said Kareem Carter, Special Agent in Charge of the Oakland Field Office, IRS-CI. “Heredia then secured the fraudulent refunds and deposited them into her own bank account for her personal use. The IRS remains committed to the pursuit of identity theft and, together with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Tax Inspector General for Tax Administration, we will hold those who engage in similar conduct accountable.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura D. Withers and Vincente A. Tennerelli are prosecuting this case.
Heredia is scheduled to be sentenced on March 27, 2020. She faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud, a mandatory minimum of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence for aggravated identity theft, and up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for making a false tax return. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.