Crime - Sacto 911

Woman sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison for role in Sacramento-area tax fraud scheme

A woman was sentenced to almost three years in prison Tuesday in connection with a Sacramento-area tax refund fraud scheme that sought to collect close to $1 million from the IRS.

In a news release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California said Sequioya Harris, formerly of Sacramento and Stockton, previously pleaded guilty to tax fraud offenses in May, admitting her role in submitting fraudulent W-2 tax forms with at least two co-conspirators.

Harris, alongside co-defendants John A. Owens Jr. of Sacramento and Dionne Thomas of Galt — who also pleaded guilty — filled out hundreds of W-2 forms with their own and other names falsely claiming withholdings between February 2009 and April 2013.

The defendants’ forms claimed multiple employees who ostensibly withheld portions of their wages in an attempt to receive refunds and tax credits, but these withholdings were not accurate, the attorney’s office said.

The three requested $997,804 in tax refunds and received more than $570,000 from the IRS.

The refunds were directed into multiple bank accounts and funds were shared with Harris, according to the release.

Harris, 35, was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison and ordered to pay $570,005 in restitution. Owens, 32, and Thomas, 54, are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 10.

Vincent Moleski covers business and breaking news for The Bee and is a graduate student in literature at Sacramento State. He was born and raised in Sacramento and previously wrote for the university’s student newspaper, the State Hornet.