Crime - Sacto 911

Loomis man sentenced to prison for role in tax fraud scheme

A Loomis man has been sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for his role in a federal tax refund fraud scheme.

Peter Kuzmenko, 38, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. and also ordered to pay $573,332 in restitution to the IRS, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

Kuzmenko was previously convicted in two mortgage fraud cases in California’s Easterrtgage fraud cases in California’s Eastern District and sentenced to a total of 21 years in prison for those cases. Federal officials said the sentence imposed in the tax fraud case is to be served concurrent with the other sentences.

Prosecutors said Kuzmenko’s tax fraud scheme involved four co-defendants, including his brother, who worked as a tax preparer at VK Tax Services in Citrus Heights in 2009.

Between February and November 2009, Kuzmenko conspired to file about 90 fraudulent tax returns with the IRS. The returns fraudulently claimed the first-time homebuyer credit, which was worth as much as $7,500. The refunds were electronically deposited in various bank accounts controlled by Kuzmenko and his co-defendants, authorities said. The fraudulent claims totaled $695,724, of which the IRS paid about $573,000.

Co-defendant Aleksandr Kuzmenko was sentenced to more than two years in prison on Oct. 28. Valeriy Nikitchuk pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States and is to be sentenced Dec. 16. Co-defendant Arsen Muhtarov has pleaded not guilty.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy