Las Vegas -- A 56-year-old Las Vegas woman involved in a payroll embezzlement scheme received a 63-month prison sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to tax evasion and wire fraud, the Internal Revenue Service said.
Deborah A. DiFrancesco, 56, also was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan to pay more than $3.8 million in restitution to client victims and more than $1.1 million to the IRS. But Mahan said it was unlikely she would ever earn enough to repay her victims.
According to case files, DiFrancesco provided reports to her clients such as IRS Forms 940 and 941, in which she represented that funds authorized for transfer by those individuals for payroll taxes had been forwarded to the appropriate tax authorities, including the IRS. Acting through Lakes Payroll Inc., DiFrancesco perpetrated her embezzlement scheme by preparing a second set of IRS forms that reflected an understated tax liability. These forms were sent to the IRS and other taxing authorities.
The difference between the actual money owed and the understated money remitted was pocketed by DiFrancesco. She embezzled more than $3.3 million from her small business clients from 2009 through 2011, and used the embezzled funds for gambling and personal expenditures.
"Let me emphasize the government was not the only victim here", Special Agent in Charge Paul Camacho of IRS-Criminal Investigation said. "Mrs DiFrancesco engaged in thievery by embezzling funds from her clients which were supposed to be used to satisfy payroll tax obligations. Her greed drove her to pilfer rather than ensure hard working folks received credit for social security taxes paid".
This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Las Vegas with the assistance of IRS-Criminal Investigation.
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