Law Firm Paralegal Sentenced to Prison in Mail Fraud and Tax Evasion Scheme
OAKLAND—Ana Lissa Reyes was sentenced today to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $327,795 in restitution to victims of her mail fraud scheme and $67,448 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for tax evasion, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag, along with Special Agents in Charge David Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Jose M. Martinez of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
Reyes pleaded guilty on April 17, 2014, to mail fraud and tax evasion. According to the plea agreement, Reyes worked as a secretary, office manager, and paralegal for a Bay Area law firm. Reyes admitted that from about 2006 through June 2011, she, without authorization, settled claims without the knowledge of the law firm or its clients and stole the settlement proceeds. Reyes admitted to engaging clients without the law firm’s knowledge and to stealing their retainer fee payments.
Reyes also admitted that, in carrying out the scheme to defraud, she created a bogus company, Lincoln Litigation, to correspond with clients and to defraud them into believing that their cases were ongoing. She admitted to embezzling a total of $327,795.05 from the law firm and its clients.
Reyes also admitted to under-reporting her income for the calendar years 2006 through 2011. For each of those tax years, Reyes admitted that she knew her joint taxable income was substantially in excess of the amount stated on the return, resulting in additional tax due and owing to the United States.
Reyes, 42, of San Lorenzo, was charged in an information on January 25, 2013, and waived indictment on January 31, 2013. She was charged with five counts of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341, and six counts of tax evasion, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201.
The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, U.S. District Court Judge, following a guilty plea on one count of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and to one count of 26 U.S.C. § 7201. Judge Gonzalez Rogers also sentenced Reyes to a three-year period of supervised release. Reyes will begin serving the sentence on August 11, 2014.
Wade Rhyne is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Janice Pagsanjan and Patty Lau. The prosecution is the result of a year-long investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS, Criminal Investigation.