A federal jury in Fresno has found four defendants guilty of participating in a tax refund scheme claiming more than $33 million in federal tax refunds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Fresno residents Gaylene Lynnette Bolanos, 58, and Leroy Donovan Combs, 74, Madera County resident Charles Wayne Uptergrove, 57, and Ladonna Lee Moon, 55, of Texas, were convicted of submitting false claims against the United States. Bolanos was also found guilty of conspiracy to defraud. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on Rodney Edwin Moon of Texas, who was also charged.
Prior to trial, co-defendants James Karam Schwartz, 60, and Louie Calles, 65, pleaded guilty to submitting false claims. Another co-defendant, Oswald Georgner, 66, of Fresno, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud. Each of the defendants is awaiting sentencing.
According to court documents and testimony at trial, between August 2008 and Oct. 16, 2008, Bolanos and Georgner conspired to submit false claims for income tax refunds. Bolanos and Georgner worked with others, including Combs, Uptergrove, Calles, Schwartz and Ladonna Lee Moon to submit false tax returns in an attempt to eliminate their debts and receive sizable tax refunds.
The defendants sought more than $33 million in fraudulent federal tax refunds. The IRS issued approximately $400,000 in fraudulent refunds.
The four defendants convicted are scheduled to be sentenced on March 7. They face up to five years in prison on each false claims charge. Bolanos and Georgner face up to 10 years in prison for the conspiracy charge.
Megan Ginise: 559-441-6614