A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday revealed three women from El Dorado County were charged in an alleged conspiracy to defraud the government out of millions of dollars in a tax return scheme.
Teresa Marie Marty of Pollock Pines, Rebecca Bandera-Marty of Shingle Springs and Pamela Harris of Placerville were charged in connection with the scheme, a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice and IRS stated. Marty was also charged with 33 counts of false claims against the U.S. and Bandera-Marty was charged 16 similar counts.
According to the indictment, in 2008 and 2009, the three allegedly filed at least 250 false individual federal tax returns totaling more than $60 million in returns for clients in 26 states. The IRS erroneously issues 40 of these, more than $8 million, including Marty’s own return of nearly $278,000.
The scheme was done through Marty’s tax return preparation business, Advanced Financial Services in Placerville. Marty and her daughter-in-law, Bandera-Marty, were licensed tax preparers; Harris was the office manager. Charging extensive fees for their services, sometimes as high as $6,000, the three gained clients through the promise of eliminating debts and legally receiving large tax refunds.
Using fictitious 1099-OID forms, the three would then claim large refunds by falsely reporting total outstanding debt including mortgage, credit limits on credit cards, student and auto loans were instead interest income. They claimed their clients received the income from lenders that was withheld by the IRS; therefore, their clients were entitled to refunds.
In response to a lawsuit from the Justice Department’s Tax Division, in 2010 a federal judge in Sacramento permanently barred Marty and AFS from acting as federal tax return preparers.
The three each face a 10-year prison sentence if convicted. Marty and Bandera-Marty also face an additional five years in prison for each false claim count.
The IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case. It is being prosecuted by Justice Department Tax Division Trial Attorney Ignacio Perez de la Cruz and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Segal in Sacramento.