A Manteca woman on Wednesday pleaded guilty to filing false claims for tax refunds, stealing more than $300,000 from the federal government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento reported.
Esther Lynne Robertson, 57, faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. She is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 23, 2015.
According to her plea agreement, Robertson’s tax preparer in 2008 suggested a way to get money from the government by claiming large refunds based on fictitious withholdings.
Federal prosecutors said Robertson filed two false federal income tax returns; claiming a $90,538 refund for 2005 and a $313,248 refund for 2007. Based on the false statements, the IRS sent Robertson a check for $313,248.
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In February 2009, the IRS discovered the error and issued a levy to Robertson’s bank for the balance in her bank account. In September 2011, Robertson filed a false lien against the property of an IRS commissioner.
José Martínez, special agent in charge of the IRS criminal investigation division, said they will partner with the other divisions within the IRS to collect the money Robertson stole.
“This is not your typical false claims case against the government; it exceeded most salaries of hard-working, tax-abiding citizens,” Martínez said in a news release.