Warwick, RI – A Warwick woman is one of two Cranston-based tax preparers arrested by federal agents today and charged with selling the identities of minors to boost tax refunds, according to United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha’s office.
Evelyn Nunez, 40, of Providence, and Tashia Bodden, 37, of Warwick, were arrested earlier by agents from IRS Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Secret Service on federal criminal complaints charging them with conspiracy to defraud the United States, false claims to the United States and aggravated identity theft.
They were released on unsecured bond following initial appearances before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan.
The Scheme Development Center, a division of the IRS, discovered the fraud during an analysis of tax returns prepared by individuals working at NBP and identified questionable use of children being claimed as dependents. The alleged use of the dependents led to the refunding by the IRS of hundreds of thousands of dollars under the Earned Income Credit available to low income taxpayers, according to a release from Neronha’s office.
An investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed that between January 2008 and February 2012, taxpayers allegedly purchased false dependents for approximately $600 – $700 per dependent.
Research of the use of dependents allegedly showed that the defendants falsely claimed dozens of children to be foster children, nieces and nephews of the taxpayers when, in reality, they had no relation to the taxpayer.
The scheme defrauded the IRS of more than $1.34 million dollars and defrauded the State of Rhode Island of more than $65,500 dollars.
A third defendant, Wendy Molina, 39, of Cranston, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government. She is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court on Oct. 1, 2014.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker.
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