A 52-year-old Granbury woman is one of three people who have pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with a scheme to obtain confidential tax information from the Internal Revenue Service, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of New York.
Sabrina Scott of Granbury along with Stephen Mockler, 53, of Waverly, New York, and Andrew Panessa, 40, of Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, each pleaded guilty, it was announced on June 2 by Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and Special Agent in Charge William Kalb of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
The news release states that “Mockler impersonated taxpayers to the IRS using personal identifying information provided to him by Andrew Panessa and Sabrina Scott.”
It continues, “As part of their guilty pleas, Mockler, Panessa, and Scott admitted that Scott, while an employee of a private investigation firm in Texas, provided both Mockler and Panessa with personal identifying information about her firm’s investigative targets (including the targets’ social security numbers) and requested that Mockler and Panessa use that information to obtain confidential tax information.”
Scott pleaded guilty to conspiracy to misuse Social Security numbers, and faces a maximum sentence of five years, a fine of $250,000, and a post-imprisonment term of supervised release of up to three years, according to the news release.
Mockler and Panessa both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, misuse of a social number, and aggravated identity theft. Each is facing a maximum prison term of 20 years for each count of wire fraud and five years for each count of misuse of a social security number, according to the authorities.
The aggravated identify theft convictions would bring a two-year sentence to run consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed for the wire fraud and misuse of a social security number counts. In addition, the maximum fine is $250,000, and the court could impose a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to three years, the news release states.
The news release states that Scott’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 5. No sentencing date has been set for Mockler or Panessa.
These cases were investigated by the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”) and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Gadarian and Geoffrey J.L. Brown.