Nipomo woman pleads guilty in tax and loan fraud schemes

A Nipomo woman has pleaded guilty to orchestrating a tax scheme involving stolen identities, as well as a loan fraud scheme in which she submitted false income tax returns that overstated her income in an effort to obtain a $1.6 million loan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Imelda Sanchez, 40, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of making false claims against the government and one count of making false statements on a loan application.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Sanchez, working in the business of bookkeeping and tax preparation, engaged in a scheme to submit false tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service in order to obtain tax refunds.

Sanchez admitted she made these false claims by using the names and Social Security numbers of relatives and former clients without their authorization.

As part of the scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office said, Sanchez prepared a false 2005 federal income tax return, in the name of an unidentified victim, that falsely claimed a $3,695 refund. The refund was based on a false Form W-2 claiming $12,831 in wages and fraudulent tax credits claiming two dependent children.

In addition, Sanchez pleaded guilty to making false statements to Santa Lucia Bank by submitting false personal income tax returns in application for a $1,640,000 loan.

Sentencing is scheduled in U.S. District Court on May 13. Sanchez faces a statutory maximum sentence of 35 years in federal prison and a fine of $1,250,000.

The investigation was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.