San Jose woman gets 4½ years in homeless tax return scheme


SAN JOSE — A 71-year-old San Jose woman has been sentenced to 4½ years in prison for stealing and using the identities of homeless people to seek fraudulent tax refunds, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Diep Vo, also known as Nancy Vo, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose.

Prosecutors said Vo conspired with 57-year-old Trong Minh Nguyen, also known as John Nguyen, to use the personal information of homeless and unemployed people in the San Jose area to file fraudulent claims for refunds with the Internal Revenue Service.

Vo reportedly went to shelters and halfway houses and falsely represented to individuals that she could get them money from a government program designed to assist people who had not worked in previous years. She convinced them to write down their names and Social Security numbers, as well as to sign blank income tax returns.

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The duo then falsified the returns by including false income and income tax withheld amounts, according to prosecutors. Altogether, they sought fraudulent refunds totaling $3.4 million and directed the IRS to send the checks to private mailboxes they controlled.

Vo previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to file false claims, three counts of aiding and abetting in filing false claims and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

In addition to 54 months in prison, Vo was ordered by Judge Beth Labson Freeman to serve three years of supervised release and to pay nearly $701,000 in restitution to the IRS. Freeman also told Vo to self-surrender by Jan. 4 to begin serving her sentence.

For his part in the scheme, Nguyen was sentenced in September to more than two years in prison. He previously pleaded guilty to submitting and conspiring to submit false claims for refund.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

      

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