Three individuals in Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty this week to conspiring to steal more than $2 million in tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), according to Justice Department officials.
Chanh V. Trinh, Cannedy Trinh, and Elizabeth Trinh each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States by fraudulently obtaining the payment of income tax refunds. Chanh V. Trinh also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft involving the use of his deceased brother’s identity.
According to documents filed with the court, Chanh V. Trinh, Cannedy Trinh, and Elizabeth Trinh, residents of Las Vegas, conspired to file federal corporate and individual income tax returns reporting false income tax withholdings and payments, which fraudulently caused the IRS to issue income tax refunds. The Trinhs filed the fraudulent returns in the names of fictitious business entities, their own names, and the names of other individuals, including a long-deceased family member. Chanh V. Trinh prepared and filed the returns. All three defendants deposited or cashed the fraudulently obtained refund checks using bank accounts and check-cashing businesses in Las Vegas. The defendants regularly concealed the funds by purchasing cashier’s checks, which they used to obtain gambling chips at Las Vegas casinos. The conspiracy resulted in false claims of more than $6 million, and more than $2 million in fraudulent refunds paid out by the IRS.
United States District Court Judge James C. Mahan scheduled sentencing for all three defendants for April 10, 2019. Chanh V. Trinh will be sentenced to 102 months in prison under his plea agreement if accepted by the court. Cannedy Trinh will be sentenced to 24 months in prison under his plea agreement if accepted by the court. Elizabeth Trinh faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison under her plea agreement. Each defendant also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.