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P R E S S   R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 23, 2012


Bakersfield Tax Preparer Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Mortgage Fraud and Tax Fraud Schemes

FRESNO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Chief United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced Patricia Ann King, 57, of Bakersfield, to three years and one month in prison for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme and for aiding and assisting the preparation of false tax documents in connection with her tax preparation business.

According to court documents in the tax fraud case, King admitted to willfully aiding and counseling a taxpayer in preparing and presenting a fraudulent income tax return to the IRS. The 2005 tax return falsely claimed Schedule A and Schedule C expenses that King knew were not valid.

The tax case was the product of an extensive investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark E. Cullers prosecuted that case.

According to court documents in the mortgage fraud case, King admitted that from October 2005 to July 2006, she assisted other defendants to submit false documentation in support of loan applications in order to defraud mortgage lenders. During this time period, King was a tax return preparer and owned The Tax Kings, a tax return business in Bakersfield. King prepared and provided to her co-defendants false and misleading verification letters that purported to verify loan applicants' self-employment history and income, among other information. King also falsely claimed to be a CPA. King received compensation payments from the co-defendants for providing the verification letters.

King was ordered to pay $530,300 in restitution to the victim lenders in the mortgage fraud case and to pay $174,002 in restitution to the IRS in the tax case. King will also serve three years of supervised release upon her release from prison.

The mortgage fraud case was the product of a joint investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with a Mortgage Fraud Task Force based in Fresno. The U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI created the Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which is composed of federal and local law enforcement, to further the prosecution of mortgage fraud cases arising out of the southern half of the Central Valley. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff and Henry Z. Carbajal, III prosecuted the mortgage fraud case.

The remaining four defendants in the mortgage fraud case have pleaded not guilty. The charges as to those defendants are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Their next appearance in court will be on June 25, 2012 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Beck.

This law enforcement action is part of the work being done by President Barack Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. One component of the FFETF is the national Securities Fraud Working Group, which is tasked with combating investment fraud schemes. For more information on the task force, visit stopfraud.gov.


Source: United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California


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