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California Resident Sentenced to Prison for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns Using Stolen IDs of Homeless and Unemployed Individuals

Duped Shelter Residents into Giving Personal Information by Falsely Representing She Could Obtain Government Assistance for Them

A California resident was sentenced to 54 months in prison for conspiring to file false claims for tax refunds, submitting false claims for tax refunds, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California.

According to documents and information provided to the court, Diep Vo aka Nancy Vo, 71, conspired with codefendant Trong Nguyen aka John Nguyen, to use the IDs of homeless and unemployed individuals in the San Jose, California area to file fraudulent claims for refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Vo went to homeless shelters and halfway houses and falsely represented to individuals that she could get them money from a government program designed to assist people who had not worked in previous years. Vo convinced people to write down their names and social security numbers and to sign blank income tax returns. Vo and Nguyen then falsified the signed returns by including bogus income and income tax withheld amounts, and seeking fraudulent tax refunds totaling approximately $3.4 million. Vo and Nguyen directed the refund checks to private mailboxes they controlled.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman ordered Vo to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $700,816 in restitution to the IRS. Nguyen previously pleaded guilty to submitting and conspiring to submit false claims for refund and was sentenced in September to 25 months in prison.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Stretch thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amber Rosen and former Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division prosecuted the case.