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TAX NEWS - FEBRuary 2010

California Tax: Elk Grove Woman Sentenced to Prison for Grand Theft, State Income Tax Evasion

An Elk Grove woman was sentenced today to four years in state prison on one felony count of grand theft and one felony count of state income tax evasion, we announced on December 30, 2009.

Jocelyn P. Wong, 53, was the in-home care provider for an Elk Grove couple. In 2006 - 2009, Wong embezzled $527,000 from the 89-year-old husband and his 85-year-old wife. According to court documents, the victim gave Wong the money as a loan, but no attempt was ever made to repay it. Wong facilitated the theft by withdrawing cash from the victims' bank account or having the victim write checks to cash or Wong's family members to avoid the appearance she was embezzling the funds. Wong spent some of the money on living expenses, but gambled away the majority of the money at a local casino.

A subsequent investigation revealed that Wong failed to report $460,000 of the illegal income on her 2006 - 2008 state income tax returns. All income is taxable, including income from illegal sources.

Restitution of $527,000 was ordered to the victims and $68,361 to us representing the unpaid tax, penalties, interest, and the cost of the investigation.

The failure to file and pay is part of the $6.5 billion tax gap California faces each year. The tax gap is defined as the difference between the tax that is due and the tax that is paid.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Savage handed down the sentence in Department 62 of the Sacramento County Court. Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Lani Biafore prosecuted the case.
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