On Friday, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg announced that an Allentown, Pennsylvania resident had been sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for filing fraudulent tax returns using stolen IDs. At the time of the crime, 32-year-old Barbara Gonzalez worked as a tax return preparer with MJ & Associates. The Allentown business provided tax preparation services and check cashing.
The defendant was found guilty of conspiring with others to acquire identifications of Puerto Rico residents. Then, Gonzalez used those stolen IDs to file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service in hopes of acquiring $635,594 in refunds. The defendant attempted to convince the IRS to deposit the money onto pre-paid debit cards and mail them to addresses controlled by her and her co-conspirators.
Eventually, the refund checks were cashed by the defendant and her co-conspirators. Another defendant in the case, Jessenia Cordero, operated MJ & Associates. Jessenia Cordero was sentenced to 42 months in prison this year.
In additional to the 12 months in prison, U.S. District Judge Edward G. Smith has also ordered the defendant to pay restitution of $319,610.39 to the IRS. Gonzalez will also serve three years of supervised release. The MJ & Associates tax preparation business is located on 301 North 8th Street in Allentown, Pennsylvania.