SAN FRANCISCO -- A Pittsburg woman pleaded guilty in a San Francisco court Thursday to filing tax returns using stolen identities, attorneys said.

Taneshia Stephenson, 24, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to file false claims, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

Stephenson helped other people defraud the Internal Revenue Service by cashing in on fraudulent tax refunds using returns filed with stolen identities, according to her plea agreement.

Each tax return was filed electronically, claimed no dependents, listed Social Security payments as the only source of income, and asked for a refund of all of the tax reported as withheld, the claim said. The co-conspirators involved in the scheme would then ask the IRS to directly deposit the fraudulent refund into a bank account that Stephenson could access.

Stephenson was charged Feb. 28 with conspiracy to file false claims and three counts of filing a false claim, Haag said. She is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 12, where she will face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Contact Erin Ivie at 925-847-2122. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.



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