California tax preparer pleads guilty to tax evasion

A Patterson, California, tax preparer pleaded guilty Monday to one count of tax evasion and one count of structuring bank transactions in order to conceal her income, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

Patterson is a primarily agricultural community of about 12,000 people in California's central valley.

Nohemi Villarreal Noriega, 54, prepared tax returns through her business, Villarreal's Business Services, in Livingston. Over three years, 2006-08, she evaded payment of her own taxes, totaling more than $167,000.

In addition, Noriega admitted that she structured more than $1 million of withdrawals from her bank accounts in amounts designed to avoid filing reports that might have disclosed her unreported income.

Noriega agreed that about $188,900 seized at her house could be applied to pay restitution to the IRS.

Noriega is to be sentenced Aug. 5. She faces a maximum penalty for tax evasion of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and a maximum penalty for structuring of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

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