ALBUQUERQUE – Frances Jo Mehner, 71, of Rio Rancho, N.M., was sentenced yesterday afternoon in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a 207-day term of imprisonment, which she has already served, followed by a year of supervised release for filing a false claim for a federal tax refund.
Given Mehner’s obstructive behavior towards the IRS, the federal judge also ordered Mehner to comply with several special conditions during her term of supervised release. Mehner is required to file timely, accurate, and lawful tax returns. Mehner also may only communicate with the IRS through a licensed attorney. She also is prohibited from filing any liens or other forms against any employee of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, or the IRS.
Mehner was charged in a three-count indictment that was filed on Dec. 16, 2014. Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment charged Mehner with filing false claims for federal tax refunds. Count 1 charged Mehner with filing a false claim for a federal tax refund in the amount of $211,334,725.00 in Jan. 2010, and Count 2 charged her with filing a false claim for a federal tax refund in the amount of $958,163,765.00 in Jan. 2010. Count 3 of the indictment charged Mehner with unlawfully seeking to obstruct and impede the administration of the federal tax laws by filing false tax returns for tax years 1996, 1999 and 2002 through 2008. The indictment alleged that Mehner committed these offenses in Sandoval County, N.M.
On March 13, 2017, Mehner pled guilty to Count 2 of the indictment charging her with making a false claim for a federal tax refund. In entering the guilty plea, Mehner admitted that on Jan. 8, 2010, she presented to the IRS a claim for a tax refund in the amount of $958,163,765.00, while knowing that she was not entitled to such a refund. Mehner further admitted making the false claim by mailing a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return Form 1040 for the year 2006.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque offices of IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean J. Sullivan, Brandon Fyffe and Margaret M. Vierbuchen.