Photo: Woman Claims 19 Non-Existant Children on Tax Returns, Now Facing 143 Years in Prison
A former Los Angeles resident was sentenced this afternoon to 18 months in federal prison for filing fraudulent federal income tax returns that claimed deductions for 20 non-existent children who were supposedly all born on the same day.
Norma Coronel, 40, of Livermore, California, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was sentenced today by United Stated District Judge Manuel Real. In addition to the prison term, Judge Real ordered Coronel to pay $302,186 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
Coronel pleaded guilty in September to three felony counts – aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent federal income tax returns, fraudulently using Social Security numbers obtained with false information, and theft of government property.
In a plea agreement filed in this case, Coronel admitted that in 2003 she applied for and obtained Social Security numbers for at least 20 fictitious children, falsely claiming that the children had been born to her at a Los Angeles hospital on December 11, 2002. Using these bogus identities, Coronel prepared and filed fraudulent federal tax returns for family members and friends that claimed dependent deductions and fraudulently sought refunds.
Coronel admitted in the plea agreement that she had frequently directed the
IRS to send the refund checks to her own residence or to accounts that she controlled. Coronel either failed to provide the taxpayers with copies of the returns that she had filed, or gave them copies of fake returns that had never been filed. As a result, the taxpayers were not aware that Coronel had filed fraudulent returns in their names or that Coronel was using the returns to obtain the refunds for her own benefit.
Hers is not the only fraud case making headlines these days after is it was discovered that a couple living in a $1.2 million waterfront house was also on welfare.
People were outraged when they discovered David Silverstein and Lyudmila Shimonova received more than $135,000 in welfare assistance while going on numerous trips across the globe.
Federal welfare fraud investigator Michael Radyshewsky found that since receiving federal assistance in 2003, Silverstein and Shimonova have taken trips to Moscow, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, France, Israel, and Turkey.
According to her welfare records, Shimonova claimed she lived alone with her two children and that her assets were less than $5,000. Records also show that Silverstein, who was listed as her landlord, received monthly benefits of $1,272.
Shimonova received benefits under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and Social Security.