Lancaster man gets more than 4 years in tax fraud scheme

DPSS fraudLOS ANGELES – A Lancaster man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for his part in a scheme that claimed tax refunds using names and social security numbers stolen from a local welfare office.

Thomas “T-Mac” Marshall, 37, was sentenced in federal court Monday to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, according to federal court records.

Investigators said Marshall received names and social security numbers stolen from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) computer system and then used the information to file fraudulent tax returns, falsely claiming a First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and earning himself as much as $8,000 per return.

Marshall obtained the stolen identities from his wife, 36-year-old Veronica Niko, who used to work as a receptionist in the Lancaster office of DPSS. As a receptionist, Niko was a contact person for individuals coming into the county office to apply for aid and had access to the names and social security numbers of a large number of people who applied for or received certain types of State-administered public assistance.

The names and social security numbers of 64 different individuals, whose profiles Niko obtained from the county’s computer system, were used to file 65 fraudulent tax returns through tax year 2011, causing an actual loss to the IRS of $357,704.90.

Marshall admitted to his role in the tax scheme, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS. His wife, Niko, also pleaded guilty this past January to one count of transfer/use of means of identification to commit an unlawful activity. A sentencing hearing for Niko is scheduled for June 10, 2013, at which time Niko will face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

The husband and wife were two of five people prosecuted in the tax scheme.

Mao Niko, 40, of Lynwood pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS and was sentenced this week to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $285,101 in restitution, according to court records.  The two remaining defendants, Mike Niko, 34, of Los Angeles, and Michael Williams, 42, of Palmdale, are each facing a charge of conspiracy to submit false claims to the IRS. Their cases are still pending.

The investigation was conducted by special agents with the IRS – Criminal Investigation.

Previous related stories:

Lancaster woman bilked IRS for $357K

Five indicted for filing tax returns with stolen identities, two from Lancaster

  8 comments for “Lancaster man gets more than 4 years in tax fraud scheme

  1. ShaneFalco
    May 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    We all know that there is no way anybody on welfare in the AV is going to be actually looking for or getting a job. That should have red flagged the returns for the IRS. Seriously, what’s the worst that will happen to the “victims”? Could their already bad credit actually get worse?

  2. lulu belle
    May 2, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    One word – Lifelock- small price to pay $10 a month to have peace of mind.

  3. seriously
    May 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Moral of the story….Dont be a leach on society, because while you are taking free money someone might use you to get their free money….

    • Nancy P
      May 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Seriously, it happens with the info you give when you apply for a credit card in, (for example) Dillards or Macys. Even Dr offices of all kinds. They only NEED the last 4 digits of your SS at the dr. office for your insurance. There is NO reason to have your SS# in everyones file. Protect it.

  4. Me
    May 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    The DPSS called my family member and told them that it showed she was working for such and such company and got a tax refund of 5,000. When they investigated it, the company was no longer open and they called her and told her that she needed to make a police report, and report it to the social security office, to let them know someone used her kids names and ssn’s, and they gave her so much time to report it, or they were going to terminate her cash aid and food stamps, so there system alerts people when someone in the household is working or someone is using there social security number which makes them looking like there working. When in fact someone used there kids names and ssn’s.

    • Nancy P
      May 2, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      I have heard of that same thing. They used someones kids as dependents and filed using some fake business. They got Earned Income Credit. hmmm scammers

  5. mommyzgirl
    May 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    how do people know if their SSN# name were used or their childres’n info, from the Lancaster welfare???????/

    • Nancy P
      May 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      call and order a credit report is one way to see if someone has applied for credit in your name.
      contact IRS to see if someone has used your chlds SS# to file fake tax return by calling them.
      If you file taxes and get a letter from IRS saying you already filed or someone else has used your childs or dependents SS#, respond to the ASAP

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