While most people are afraid of the Internal Revenue Service, a Lemon Grove woman used the IRS as her personal piggy bank. She was found guilty of stealing people’s identities and then using those identities to file fake tax returns. The scam netted her more than $1.5 million, along with 14 years and 7 months in prison.
The Scam That Keeps Going
According to investigators, Cynthia Lozano ran two separate schemes. She started by stealing identities for over 200 people. She took that information and filed at least 400 tax returns. Using the names of associates and relatives, she opened bank accounts and included the banking information with the tax returns. The IRS deposited $1.5 million into those accounts between 2008 and 2013.
She apparently had an interest in real estate, as she used most of the money to purchase 20 properties in the Phoenix area. Her real estate buying spree stopped when she was indicted in 2013. She pled guilty and awaited sentencing.
Most people would put the brakes on their wrongdoing at that point, but Lozano had a taste of the good life, and she wasn’t going to give it up. She was out on bail and decided to ramp the fraud up once again.
Remember the real estate she purchased? She filled it with tenants, and she had their social security numbers. She also had numbers for people who filled out applications but did not live there. She used these social security numbers to file tax returns once again.
She opened up new bank accounts with two other people and added that banking information to the tax returns.
It didn’t take long for law enforcement to catch onto her new scheme, and she was indicted once again. She had 51 new counts to go with the 33 counts of the first indictment. Plus, she brought two other people down with her. Her associates were also charged.
Had Lozano stopped with the first act of fraud, she might have walked away with a relatively light sentence. However, committing the second fraud while out on bail sealed her fate, and she received a sentence of 14 years and 7 months. She also has to pay around $1.48 million in restitution. It looks like her time living the good life has come to an end.
Charged with Fraud?
Fraud charges are extremely serious and should not be taken lightly. If you are charged with fraud, law enforcement will want you to talk to them without an attorney. They know the more you say, the easier it will be for them to build a case against you. That’s true, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Your words will be used against you, and you need an attorney on hand to help.
Call a San Diego fraud defense attorney immediately, so you don’t make any mistakes after your arrest. Your attorney will advise you of your rights and help you mount a defense.