Florida woman pleads guilty to participating in nationwide tax evasion scheme | takeover bid


A Florida woman pleaded guilty today to filing a false tax return with the IRS, in which she obtained a refund to which she was not entitled.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Rebecca Cyphers, 65, of Winter Springs, participated in and helped facilitate a nationwide tax evasion scheme. As part of the scheme, individuals prepared and helped file tax returns for plan participants, such as Cyphers, banks and other financial institutions falsely claiming to have withheld large amounts of tax from the income of participants who were entitled to reimbursement. In reality, the financial institutions had paid no income or withheld taxes to these individuals.

As part of her plea, Cyphers admitted to filing a false 2013 amended tax return claiming a refund she was not entitled to receive. As a result, the IRS awarded him a refund of approximately $240,000. Cyphers then obstructed the IRS’s efforts to recover this ill-gotten refund by transferring funds to a trust, making a large cash withdrawal from the refund deposit, and sending frivolous correspondence to the IRS. Cyphers also admitted to helping others promote the tax evasion scheme and recruit additional participants, even though she knew the scheme was illegal.

In March, the main promoter of the fraudulent scheme, Iran Backstrom, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison, and Backstrom’s second-in-command, Mehef Bey, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Another individual, Aaron Aqueron, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for recruiting clients for the scheme and providing information to another accomplice for use in preparing false tax returns.

Cyphers is scheduled to be sentenced on August 24 and faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison for filing a false tax return. She also faces a period of supervised release, financial penalties and restitution. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Assistant Deputy Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg for the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Central District of Florida made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Isaiah Boyd III of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chauncey A. Bratt for the Central District of Florida are prosecuting the case.

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