Please Don’t Be My Neighbor!

Directly above view of concentrated accountant using calculator while preparing tax forms sitting on sofa

A California woman who orchestrated a multi-year identity theft and tax refund fraud scheme was apparently planning to bring her operation even closer to home by stealing her neighbor’s mail. An investigation of Parnian Djafarzadeh by the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Postal Service led to charges of 14 counts of false claims, three counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of possession of stolen mail.

In a January plea agreement Djafarzadeh, who also went by the names Parnian Clark and Saundra Djafarzadeh, admitted to obtaining personal identifying information, including names and social security numbers, of Marin County residents. She then filed phony tax returns in their names from 2010 through 2012. The fraudulent returns claimed $219,635.89 in income, and netted Djafarzdeh $90,822.30 in refunds. (She’s quite the accomplished fraudster. The average legitimate refund in 2012 was only $2,803.)

Djafarzadeh pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud, filing a false claim, and possessing stolen mail, agreeing to pay restitution of at least $90,952.48, with the remaining counts dismissed if she complies with the plea agreement. (Why does she get a pass on identity theft? She could have landed the innocent victims in tax purgatory for years.)

Fortunately, her plea deal leaves plenty of fodder for her April sentencing before a California judge: the maximum penalty for false claims is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, the maximum for possessing stolen mail is five years and up to $250,000, while wire fraud could land her up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  She may also be liable for additional fines, forfeitures, restitution, and special assessments for her tax refund fraud. (You shouldn’t mess with the IRS.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Marin Independent Journal article, “Marin woman pleads guilty in tax fraud case,” published Jan. 12, 2020.

A Marin County woman has pleaded guilty in a federal tax fraud and identity theft case, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Parnian Djafarzadeh, 42, of San Anselmo agreed to pay nearly $91,000 in restitution for the scam, the prosecution said.

Additional information is from a media release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, “San Anselmo Resident Pleads Guilty In ID Theft And Tax Fraud Scheme,” published Jan. 9, 2020.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.