published on August 29, 2017 - 9:54 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Two long-time IRS employees in Fresno pleaded guilty this week to a false tax return scheme that netted them more than $130,000.

Married couple Della Ornelas, 49, and Randall Ruff, 53, of Fresno filed false tax returns for family and friends that added dependents, generating large tax refunds that were diverted into bank accounts they controlled, sometimes without the knowledge of the taxpayers, according to federal court documents.

They also filed false tax returns for themselves by fraudulently adding dependents. From 2005 to 2013, Ornelas defrauded the U.S. out of nearly $77,000, and Ruff more than $53,000.

The pair is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd in Fresno on Nov. 13, and each faces a maximum statutory sentence of eight years in prison — three for aiding and abetting false tax returns and five for making fraudulent tax returns as government employees.

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