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A panel of circuit court judges recently affirmed the conviction of a former IRS agent for charges of mail fraud and making a false claim against the government. The IRS agent’s charges arise out of her involvement in a company that promoted what the government considered a tax fraud scheme.

The government alleged that the IRS agent participated in a scheme to defraud the IRS by preparing false returns. Hundreds of tax returns were filed by the company and the loss to the IRS and a state revenue department was approximately $150,000. The IRS agent was ordered to pay $128,664.27 in restitution. She was also sentenced to 36 months imprisonment.

The agent’s company operated out of Colorado and allegedly represented to customers that it would amend the customer’s tax returns to make legitimate refund claims. The company also made representations that it employed tax professionals who were former IRS employees or otherwise qualified to prepare the tax returns.

Returns filed by the company were allegedly riddled with false itemized deductions, educational expenses, business profits or losses, and taxable income among other things. The fees charged to the customers were as much as half of the refunds given to customers.

The court struck down the agent’s challenge to the upward departure on her sentence. The court found that the agent had a prior conviction involving fradulent federal financial aid applications. Although this conviction was from 1992, the court viewed the act of using special skill to fradulently obtain and embezzle federal funds as sufficient similar to the tax fraud-related crimes to warrant an upward departure.

Source: Court Listener, “United States V. Senninger,” 7/21/11