IRS worker sentenced for false tax returns

A Northeast Philadelphia woman who formerly worked for the Internal Revenue Service was sentenced on Jan. 12 to a year in prison for carrying out three frauds involving false tax returns.

Modestine “Cookie” Gillette, 48, filed seven fraudulent tax returns purportedly on behalf of other people for 2009, ’10 and ’11, and kept refunds resulting from those returns totaling almost $13,000. She did all of this despite being prohibited from filing tax returns on behalf of other taxpayers for compensation by virtue of her job with the IRS.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not disclose a home address for Gillette, who worked as a contact representative for the IRS between October 2008 and March 2012. In that role, her job was to provide administrative and technical assistance to people and businesses wishing to ask the IRS tax-related questions. It was a seasonal position.

In one case, Gillette filed a tax return on behalf of one woman without her knowledge while the woman was “in and out of jail, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centers,” the U.S. Attorney said. Gillette’s return sought a refund of $2,975 based on about $10,000 in business income and an Earned Income Tax Credit of about $3,000 for the woman.

In another case, Gillette filed 2009 and ’10 returns for a woman in which she claimed about $7,000 in refunds. Gillette kept about $6,400 for herself and gave her client $600. Based on the client’s financial data, she was really entitled to about $1,160 in refunds for those two years combined.

For other cases, Gillette similarly inflated her clients’ refund claims and kept an inordinate amount of the refund checks for herself.

Throughout much of this time, Gillette collected unemployment compensation totaling more than $46,000, although she owned and operated a child daycare business that she did not report. She pleaded guilty to fraud charges on Nov. 6, 2015. ••