Imelda Sanchez, 39, Nipomo, California, was arrested and arraigned on charges of orchestrating a tax scheme involving stolen identities, as well as a loan fraud scheme in which she allegedly submitted false income tax returns that overstated her income in an effort to obtain a $1.6 million loan. Sanchez was arrested at her place of business by special agents with IRS – Criminal Investigation and the FBI.
Appearing in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Sanchez pleaded not guilty to charges contained in an 18-count indictment returned last week by a federal grand jury.
The indictment charges Sanchez with eight counts of making false claims to the Internal Revenue Service, three counts of aggravated identity theft, five counts of making false statements on loan applications, and two counts of making false statements to the FBI.
In the indictment, Sanchez is accused of preparing false and fraudulent tax returns in the names of several taxpayers in order to fraudulently obtain tax refunds from the IRS. The indictment alleges that Sanchez stole the identities of several people, using their names and Social Security numbers without their authorization.
Sanchez is further charged with making false statements to Santa Lucia Bank by submitting false personal and corporate income tax returns in applications for a $1.6 million loan.
Sanchez is also charged with having lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on two separate occasions in 2007 when asked about her role in creating false tax documents and employment verifications in collaboration with various loan officers.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted of all 18 counts in the indictment, Sanchez would face a statutory maximum sentence of 206 years in federal prison, as well as up to $7.5 million in fines.
During the arraignment, a United States Magistrate Judge set bond at $65,000 and Sanchez was released. After Sanchez pleaded not guilty to the charges, her case was assigned to United States District Philip S. Gutierrez, who scheduled a trial for July 12, 2011.
This case against Sanchez is the result of a joint investigation by IRS – Criminal Investigation and the FBI.