ORLANDO, Fla. – The case of two Orange County women convicted of a four-year multimillion-dollar tax fraud conspiracy was highlighted by the Internal Revenue Service as a one of the most high-profile investigations of 2021.
According to a federal indictment, sisters Petra Gomez and Jakeline Lumucso submitted more than 16,000 false tax returns using the personal information of previous clients from 2012 to 2016.
To conceal the fraud, investigators say the women created five different e-file tax preparation companies across Orange and Seminole Counties including “Universal Tax LLC,” “Universal Financial Inc” and “Resurrection Tax”. In some cases, authorities say they opened the companies in the names of other people.
As part of their business, court documents show the sisters charged fees for filing Individual Identification Numbers applications, which are issued by the IRS to undocumented people who worked in the U.S.
Court documents show Gomez and Lumusco used the nearly $25 million in fraudulent tax refunds to purchase luxury custom-built homes, vehicles and vacations.
Gomez caught the attention of the IRS in 2014 when she failed to declare her true income by claiming $213,434 in earnings when she actually earned $1,110,508. To conceal her true income, court documents show one of the luxury homes was placed in the name of a nominee.
In Aug. 2021, Gomez was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for conspiracy to defraud the government and tax evasion. Her co-conspirator, Lumucso, was sentenced to four years in prison.
The court also ordered the sisters to pay $24,940,495 in restitution to the IRS. The luxury homes have since been sold.
“Putting abusive return preparers out of business is a top priority for IRS-CI. Let this be a reminder to others seeking to enrich themselves - tampering with the integrity of our nation’s tax system will result in jail time,” said said Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne of IRS Criminal Investigation.