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Ex-IRS Employee Found Guilty of Fraud and Identity Theft

As a preparer, Deena Vang Lee put false information on clients’ returns without their consent.

By Joshua Tehee, The Fresno Bee (TNS)

A Fresno, CA, woman who worked for the IRS was convicted in federal court Thursday for multiple crimes related to a years-long fraud scheme.

Deena Vang Lee, who was originally indicted in 2019, was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, five counts of preparing and presenting false and fraudulent returns, and three counts of making and subscribing a false and fraudulent tax return, the Justice Department said in a statement Friday.

“The jury found that this defendant, who operated a tax preparation business, willfully prepared and filed tax returns for her clients that were false and underreported her own taxable income,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert.

In evidence presented at trial, Lee was accused of using her role as a tax preparer to put false information on customers’ tax returns without their knowledge or consent.

She then submitted those returns to the IRS. This happened over a period from 2012-2016 during which she also obtained the identification of multiple individuals and falsely listed them as child care providers on tax returns without their knowledge or consent.

From 2013 to 2015, Lee also underreported her own income related to her tax preparation services.

“Taxpayers put trust in tax preparers to prepare their tax returns in accordance with the law. It is unacceptable for tax preparers to break this confidence by submitting fraudulent returns in their clients’ names,” Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, J. Russell George, said in the release.

Lee is set for sentencing May 8, when she faces a maximum of 20 years (and a $250,000 fine) for the wire fraud counts and three years (and $250,0000) for the counts related to preparing and presenting false returns and making and subscribing a false tax return counts. There is also a minimum mandatory sentence of two consecutive years for the aggravated identity theft counts.


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