A federal grand jury in Honolulu, Hawaii, returned a 15-count indictment charging two individuals with conspiring to defraud the United States, filing false tax returns and money laundering.
According to the indictment, from 2015 to 2019, Hannah Heart, Sook Young Jung and another individual allegedly conspired to defraud the United States by seeking fraudulent refunds from the IRS based on false claims that they had paid sizeable tax withholdings. The conspirators allegedly filed a false 2014 amended individual income tax return that claimed a refund of $464,904 and a false 2015 individual income tax return that claimed a refund of $1,134,902. The indictment further alleges that the conspirators took steps to prevent the IRS from recovering the fraudulently obtained refunds, and that Heart and Jung laundered the fraudulently obtained refunds through a series of financial transactions.
Jung was arrested on Sept. 4 and made her initial court appearance on Sept. 7 before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Kate Vaughan of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Jung’s matter was ordered transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.
Heart was arrested on Sept. 18 and made her initial court appearance on Sept. 21 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Rom Trader of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.
If convicted, Heart and Jung each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each count of money laundering. Heart and Jung each face a maximum sentence of three years for filing a false tax return and a maximum sentence of five years for conspiracy to defraud the United States. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Judith A. Philips for the District of Hawaii made the announcement.
The IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.
Trial Attorneys Sarah A. Kiewlicz and Valerie G. Preiss of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Paris Yates of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.