You can’t commit a crime and assume that you won’t get caught. I tried it and it didn’t work. So, today I commit myself to sharing the message – Every choice has a consequence. I guess, however, I have been unsuccessful as Laura Figueroa, age 39, of Bristol, Connecticut was just sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for filing false claims on a tax return and mail fraud.
5 YEARS! You just can’t play with the IRS and assume you can win. You do reap what you sow…and Laura didn’t sow well.
FIGUEROA was involved in two schemes to defraud the federal and state governments. In the first scheme, FIGUEROA entered into an agreement and conspiracy to defraud the United States by obtaining or assisting others to obtain the payment of false and fraudulent claims for tax refunds. As part of the conspiracy, FIGUEROA and others prepared false Form W-2s and submitted them to commercial tax preparers for fraudulent refunds. FIGUEROA and others also conspired to prepare false tax returns, claiming false refunds by electronically filing returns with false income and tax withholding information. Over the course of the conspiracy, 59 false tax returns were submitted, reflecting three refund claims totaling $267,541, of which $181,641 was paid by the Internal Revenue Service.
Now one would think that if you’re going to defraud the government, it would be by some means other than the obvious. Perhaps FIGUEROA wasn’t that smart. Preparing false documents just isn’t bright. It’s pretty obvious that eventually the IRS would figure out that the refund they were sending didn’t match up against the real documents produced. Likewise, although the information isn’t clear, one would assume that the refunds were coming to one or more similar addresses. Now that doesn’t make sense either.
n the second scheme, FIGUEROA defrauded the Connecticut Department of Labor by filing false claims for unemployment insurance. FIGUEROA and others filed with the Connecticut Department of Labor various forms that established the registration of two companies, Bad Boyz Cleaning and Rough Edges, LLC, for the purposes of collecting unemployment taxes and the paying of unemployment insurance claims filed by employees. FIGUEROA filed false forms reporting several individuals as employees of those companies, and false wages earned by those individuals, when, in fact, those individuals were not employed by the companies. Thereafter, FIGUEROA and her associates filed fraudulent claims for unemployment insurance compensation on behalf of individuals who were not employed by the companies. The Connecticut Department of Labor paid benefits of approximately $130,000 in response to fraudulent claims made on behalf of individuals alleged to have been employees of the companies.
Now, based on the first scheme…I am not surprised at FIGUEROA – she’s just not too bright. But, when you read the rest of the story – it will all come together.
As a national speaker on white collar crime – I find it amazing the types and methods that people use to commit the crimes mentioned. The fact is – you reap what you sow. Good seeds produce a good harvest and bad seeds produce pain.
THE REST OF THE STORY: Since April 2005, FIGUEROA has been incarcerated on state larceny, credit card fraud, identity theft, and risk of injury to a minor charges. She has been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of over $300,000 and the 60-month federal sentence will commence following FIGUEROA’s release from state custody.
Not a bright future!