Crime

Ex-IRS worker in Fresno indicted, arrested for alleged tax fraud

A former IRS worker in Fresno, California, is charged with 18 counts of tax fraud in which she allegedly filed false tax returns on behalf of herself, family, friends and acquaintances over a four-year period from 2012 to 2016
A former IRS worker in Fresno, California, is charged with 18 counts of tax fraud in which she allegedly filed false tax returns on behalf of herself, family, friends and acquaintances over a four-year period from 2012 to 2016 File photo

A former IRS employee in Fresno is accused of filing false and fraudulent tax returns for family members, friends and herself for four years.

Deena Vang Lee, 38, was arrested Tuesday after a federal grand jury indicted her on 18 separate felony charges.

The charges include including wire fraud, identity theft, and preparing false tax returns on behalf of friends, family and herself over a four-year period while she worked at the Internal Revenue Service’s Fresno service center, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney General McGregor W. Scott.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Lee is alleged to have charged a fee to friends, family and acquaintances to prepare tax returns that falsely claimed thousands of dollars in tax credits for education and child-care expenses, according to court documents.

The April 11 indictment indicates Lee charged many of her customers between $100 and $400 to prepare the tax returns and electronically file them with the IRS.

Lee is also accused of submitting fraudulent tax returns for herself and failing to report the income from her tax preparation services. The tax returns were prepared and filed between early 2012 and early 2016, according to McGregor Scott, the U.S. Attorney for California’s Eastern District.

The indictment states Lee’s actions cost the IRS more than $20,000 in tax losses. Scott’s office reported that the charges stemmed from an investigation by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration.

If ultimately convicted, Lee could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Lifelong Valley resident Tim Sheehan has worked in the Valley as a reporter and editor since 1986, and has been at The Bee since 1998. He is currently The Bee’s data reporter and covers California’s high-speed rail project and other transportation issues. He grew up in Madera, has a journalism degree from Fresno State and a master’s degree in leadership studies from Fresno Pacific University.


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