A Las Vegas tax preparer sentenced to prison for filing false tax returns


Date: June 9, 2023

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

A Las Vegas tax preparer was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Richard F. Boulware II to three years in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for fraudulently preparing and filing over $1.2 million false income tax returns.

Maria Magdalena Mendoza pleaded guilty in February 2023, to two counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false income tax returns.

According to court documents, beginning around 2013, Mendoza ran her own tax preparation business under the names "Taxes & More" and "Taxs y Mas." She used false or inflated deductions and credits on tax returns filed on behalf of her clients. Additionally, she used her clients' personal identifying information to falsely obtain a larger refund on her own tax returns. In total, Mendoza prepared more than 700 tax returns that claimed more than $3 million in refunds from the IRS. She caused more than $1.2 million in tax loss. Furthermore, Mendoza inflated her clients' refund requests without their knowledge and stole the excess amount of those refunds. Through this scheme, Mendoza diverted over $500,000 of her clients' tax refund payments into her own accounts from 2013 to 2017. In March of 2023, while on pretrial release, Mendoza was arrested while in possession of a stolen passport, drivers licenses, and credit cards in the name of other individuals, along with forged copies of checks.

"The defendant prepared hundreds of false income tax returns and brazenly defrauded the IRS of more than $1.2 million," said United States Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada. "Tax preparers who use false deductions to inflate tax refunds and defraud their clients will be investigated. We will hold unscrupulous tax return preparers accountable."

"Ms. Mendoza not only cheated the IRS but she victimized her clients in a pattern that extends years before indictment, all the way up to the eve of sentencing," said Albert Childress, Special Agent in Charge IRS Criminal Investigation. "Through this scheme, she diverted over $500,000 of her clients' tax refund payments to herself. The defendant further harmed her clients by causing them to be audited by the IRS. Return preparers who seek to profit through false tax return schemes will be caught and held accountable."

"Taxpayers expect that tax preparers will prepare their tax returns in accordance with the law. It is unacceptable for tax preparers to break this confidence by submitting fraudulent returns in their clients' names," stated Inspector General J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). "TIGTA is committed to bringing to justice any tax preparers who betray their clients' trust for their personal gain."

IRS-CI and TIGTA investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Eric Schmale prosecuted the case.

If you have information about an individual or a business you suspect of tax fraud, you can submit a report to the IRS.