Ken Leighton 12:30 p.m., Oct. 21
Lemon Grove tax preparer arrested in Phoenix
Accused of using 200 stolen identities to collect more than $1 million in bogus tax returns
Tax preparer Cynthia Lozano of Lemon Grove was arrested in Phoenix on Monday, April 15 (Tax Day) and stands accused of stealing the identity of more than 200 people, filing false returns on their behalf and collecting over $1 million in tax refunds.
“Frequently, the taxpayers were unaware that Lozano used their Social Security numbers thus also becoming victims of aggravated identity theft. As a result, Lozano improperly received over $1 million from the IRS in fraudulent refunds which she laundered through a bewildering maze of bank accounts,” says a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The money was used by Lozano to purchase 20 properties in the Phoenix metro area, all of which are targeted for forfeiture in a 33-count indictment, charging her with wire fraud, tax fraud, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Lozano faces up to 47 years in prison and $750,000 in fines in addition to the loss of real estate she obtained with proceeds from the fraud.