Date: November 4, 2022 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ROCKFORD — A former Rockford man has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $434,314 to the Internal Revenue Service and $80,647 to the Illinois Department of Revenue in restitution for tax fraud. Michael Mendoza, of Kinderhook, Ill., pleaded guilty earlier this year to making a false claim to the internal Revenue Service. Mendoza admitted in a plea agreement that on Feb. 3, 2014, he prepared and electronically filed with the Internal Revenue Service a 2014 Internal Revenue Service Form 1040 in which he claimed a refund of $79,320. The Form 1040 included two fabricated Forms W-2 that claimed earnings on behalf of himself and a relative joint filer. On July 1, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service electronically deposited the refund of $79,320 into a bank account that was owned by Mendoza. As part of his plea agreement, Mendoza also admitted that between 2009 and 2015, he made additional false claims to the Internal Revenue Service and the State of Illinois seeking tax refunds to which he and his two relatives were not entitled. Based upon the false and fraudulent claims for refund, the Internal Revenue Service issued additional refunds totaling an additional $354,530 and the Illinois Department of Revenue issued refunds totaling $80,647. To support his claims for refunds, Mendoza fabricated at least 48 false Forms W-2 and W-2C in the names of himself and two relatives claiming that wages had been paid to them. U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis imposed the 33-month prison sentence and restitution after a hearing Thursday in federal court in Rockford. The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Love and Talia Bucci.