LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County resident pleaded guilty Thursday to engaging in a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service of over $150,000 through the submission of fraudulent federal income tax returns using the personal identifying information of 63 individuals without their consent.
Bridgette Charmine Potts, 52 pleaded guilty before United States District Judge John F. Walter to one count of wire fraud.
According to the plea agreement filed in the case, between 2014 and 2016, Potts knowingly submitted fraudulent tax returns to the IRS using the personal identifying information of 63 individuals, none of whom consented to this scheme. These fraudulent tax returns, which falsely represented that the victims had filed them, contained statements that were material; that is, they influenced the IRS to issue the fraudulent refunds.
Potts further caused the IRS to wire the refunds based on the fraudulent tax returns to bank accounts which she controlled.
During the course of the scheme, on Feb. 16, 2014, Potts knowingly submitted a fraudulent tax return to the IRS 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 filing this tax return, the IRS issued a refund payment intended for the victim in the amount of $4,405 which was electronically transferred to Pott’s bank account.
The total amount of loss to the IRS resulting from Pott’s scheme was approximately $159,377.
Potts faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison when sentenced by Judge Walter on April 15. Potts may also be ordered to pay restitution of $159,377 to the IRS.
This case is the product of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Melissa Mills.