Women from Massena and Phoenix, Ariz., are accused in an indictment filed in federal district court of trying to defraud the Internal Revenue Service of more than $500,000 through the mail and with identity theft.
Lacey Jane Hollinger, 27, of Massena, and Elaine Monique Zavala-Charres, 33, of Phoenix have each been charged with seven counts of operating a mail fraud scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and two counts aggravated identity theft.
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District says they filed bogus tax returns trying to get large tax refunds.
The mail fraud charges carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment followed by parole and a fine of up to $250,000.
The aggravated identity theft charges carry a sentence of two years imprisonment.
The indictment alleges that Hollinger and Zavala-Charres operated the scheme to defraud the IRS from January 2012 to May 2013 in St. Lawrence County and elsewhere.
The scheme involved using personal identification information acquired through fraud used to file tax returns with false income levels to generate fraudulent refunds.
The scheme involved the submission of over $500,000 in fraudulent tax returns to IRS in tax years 2011 and 2012, primarily in New York and Arizona.
The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigations office in Syracuse.
United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian of the Northern District of New York reminds readers that the charges in the indictment are mere allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.