Ex-Pasadena Resident Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding IRS

Published : Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | 5:01 AM

A former Pasadena resident was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison May 20, for defrauding the Internal Revenue Service out of more than $150,000 by submitting fake income tax returns using the stolen identities of more than 60 people.

According to the IRS, Bridgette Charmine Potts, 53, has also been ordered to pay $159,377 in restitution to the agency, a report by City News Service said.

In January, Potts pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before United States District Judge John F. Walter of the Central District of California.

Court documents showed that between 2014 and 2016, Potts knowingly submitted fraudulent tax returns using the stolen personal identifying information of 63 people, none of whom consented to the scheme.

The tax returns, which falsely represented that the victims had filed them, contained statements that influenced the IRS to issue the fraudulent refunds, the report said.

Potts further caused the IRS to wire the refunds based on the fraudulent tax returns to bank accounts which she controlled.

On February 16, 2014, Potts reportedly submitted a fraudulent tax return using the name and Social Security number of one victim who had not authorized Potts to file a tax return on his behalf.

Based on the false statements that Potts made in the tax return, the IRS issued a refund payment intended for the victim, and wired $4,405 to Pott’s bank account.

The IRS said its total loss resulting from Pott’s scheme amounted to approximately $159,377.

The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Melissa Mills.

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