Mexican convicted in El Paso in nearly $3M IRS refunds scam

FILE - In this photo March 22, 2013 file photo, the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington. A government watchdog says lax oversight at the IRS increases the risk that political and religious groups could be unfairly targeted for audits. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

EL PASO, Texas (AP) – A Mexican woman faces more than 120 years in a U.S. prison for running a nearly $3 million IRS refunds scam involving stolen identities.

Elizabeth “Betty” Garcia de Nieto of Chihuahua, Mexico, was convicted Wednesday in El Paso. Garcia remains in custody pending sentencing for conspiracy to defraud the U.S., mail fraud, plus aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft.

Investigators say Garcia since 2010 used stolen identities to create fraudulent U.S. tax returns and get average refunds of about $5,000.

Garcia paid other people to cash some of the IRS checks in El Paso, Oklahoma City and Chaparral, New Mexico. She kept most of the refunds.

A co-defendant, Christina Perez Altamirano of Oklahoma City, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and also awaits sentencing.

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