O.C. Man Sentenced to 63 Months in Prison in Scheme that Sought over $800,000 in Fraudulent Tax Refunds for Non-Existent Employees

SANTA ANA, California – A Placentia man who participated in a scheme that filed fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service and sought over $800,000 in refunds based on non-existent employees at two shell companies has been sentenced to over five years in federal prison

Julien Jitt Noel, 37, was sentenced last Friday to 63 months in prison. United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton further ordered Noel to pay $605,294 in restitution to the IRS.

Following a five-day jury trial in March, Noel was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent tax returns.

The evidence presented at trial showed that Noel and two co-conspirators prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns, most of which were filed in the names of individuals whose identities had been stolen. The fraudulent tax returns stated that the taxpayers were employed by Picaso Fashions, which purportedly withheld excessive taxes from their paychecks. In fact, the evidence showed that Picaso Fashions was a shell company that did not actually have any employees, and the refunds claimed in the tax returns were fraudulent.

Members of the conspiracy fraudulently filed 69 individual federal tax returns during 2009 that claimed tax refunds totaling $621,589.

Noel established another bogus company – Above Average Allstars – to serve as a fraudulent employer. In relation to Above Average Allstars, Noel filed another 45 fraudulent tax returns in 2009 and 2010 that sought $195,344 in refunds.

In total, Noel conspired to file or directly filed a total of 114 fraudulent returns, and the IRS paid full or partial tax refunds on 100 of these returns, sustaining actual losses of $605,294.

Noel has been in federal custody since this case was indicted in the spring of 2015.

Co-conspirator Antonio Jerome Cook, 39, of Long Beach, was sentenced in March 2016 to four years in federal in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $537,309 for his role in the scheme.

A third co-defendant was also convicted in relation to the scheme.

The investigation in this case was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation.

This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Aron Ketchel of the Violent and Organized Crime Section and Jamie A. Lang of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Component(s): USAO – California, Central

Press Release Number: 17-188 Updated October 24, 2017

Central District of California DOJ / 17-188 / October 23, 2017

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