Earlier this month, a bookkeeper of a charter bus company was sentenced to prison for engaging in tax fraud by failing to report close to $1 million ($966,908) in income. As detailed in the press release below, the unreported income was neither deposited into the business bank accounts nor disclosed to the return preparer handling the company’s tax returns. The press release is below:
California Charter Bus Company Bookkeeper Sentenced to Prison for Tax Fraud and Bank Home Mortgage Fraud
A San Jose, California, woman was sentenced to serve 22 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for committing tax fraud and bank fraud, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo for the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag for the Northern District of California announced today.
Elena Moreno, 40, was also ordered to pay $422,962.13 in restitution and to forfeit $3.328 million as well as her interest in two pieces of real property. Prior to pleading guilty in this case, Moreno and her co-defendants, Arturo and Fidencio Moreno, paid more than $200,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for losses associated with their fraud.
According to court documents, beginning in 2005 and continuing through at least 2010, family members Arturo Moreno, Elena Moreno and Fidencio Moreno conspired to defraud the United States by failing to report all of the gross receipts from their charter bus company, Quality Assurance Travel (QAT), on the corporate tax returns for QAT and on their personal income tax returns that they filed with the IRS. The total amount of unreported gross receipts during those years exceeded $966,908. Arturo and Fidencio Moreno were each 50 percent owners of QAT. The unreported income consisted primarily of cash receipts that were paid by passengers as they boarded the bus, but were not deposited into the business bank accounts or disclosed to the Moreno’s tax return preparer.
According to court documents, between 2005 and July 2013, Elena Moreno and her co-defendants also conspired to commit bank fraud and wire fraud by submitting false and fraudulent loan applications that overstated the applicants’ income and assets in order to acquire and refinance homes in San Jose. In total, the defendants fraudulently obtained more than $3.3 million in loans through their conspiracy. After the defendants fell behind with the loan payments, they attempted to avoid foreclosure by submitting false and fraudulent applications to modify these loans. One of the four properties was ultimately sold through a short sale in 2013, while another was foreclosed upon in 2014. The total losses to the financial institutions resulting from the foreclosure exceeded $200,000.
The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorney Todd P. Kostyshak of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Moore and Katherine L. Wong prosecuted the case.