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
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.