Martinez Woman pleads guilty to tax return scheme

OAKLAND (BCN) — A Martinez woman could serve up to 12 years in prison after she pleaded guilty Monday to claiming tax returns using the identity of East Bay residents, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lynsey Hartsinck, 30, in a plea agreement filed in federal court in Oakland on Monday admitted to carrying out a scheme in 2013 and 2014 involving fraudulent tax returns, prosecutors said.

After originally being indicted by a federal grand jury on June 16 on more than 15 different charges, Hartsinck’s plea agreement included only one charge each of conspiracy to file false claims and aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors said Hartsinck devised a scheme to file false tax returns and claim fraudulent tax refund payments. She conspired with a co-defendant to use the names and Social Security numbers of at least 12 people, mostly residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Hartsinck obtained the tax returns using the fraudulent documents in several ways, including listing a home in Martinez she was renting at the time, prosecutors said.

Her scheme netted tax refunds of at least $198,249, mostly deposited onto prepaid debit card accounts that she controlled, prosecutors said.

The maximum sentence she faces for conspiracy to file false claims is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The aggravated identity theft charge carries the same maximum fine and up to two years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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