Family pleads guilty to stealing more than $2M in tax refunds from IRS

Three members of a Las Vegas family who conspired to steal more than $2 million in income tax refunds from the IRS using made-up businesses and the identity of a dead brother have pleaded guilty, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Chanh V. Trinh, Cannedy Trinh and Elizabeth Trinh reported false withholdings and payments when they filed federal corporate and individual income tax returns, KSNV-TV reported. The three family members filed the returns under the names of fictional businesses, their own names and the names of others, including Chanh’s deceased brother.

Chanh prepared and filed the returns himself, while all three family members deposited or cashed the refund checks, the station reported. They used various bank accounts and check-cashing businesses in the area.

The Trinh family masked the stolen funds by buying cashiers’ checks and exchanging them for gambling chips at Las Vegas casinos, KTNV-TV reported.

When IRS-Criminal Investigation special agents finally caught the Trinhs, more than $2 million in fraudulent refunds had been paid out by the agency on more than $6 million in false claims filed, KSNV-TV reported.

Chanh, who also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft for using his dead brother’s name, will be sentenced to eight and a half years under the plea agreements, KTNV-TV reported. Cannedy will face two years in prison, while Elizabeth faces a maximum sentence of 10 years under their plea deals.

The court must accept the plea agreements at a sentencing hearing scheduled for April.

The Trinh family will also face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties, KSNV-TV reported