San Jose, California - Sanjeev Bais pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon to 14 counts of theft of government property, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon.

According to the plea, between February 2009 and April 2010, Bais and his partner stole $224,792 in IRS refunds by filing false tax returns. Bais, an eBay, Inc. manager at that time, had an email list consisting of employees of San Jose based technology companies. Using that email list, Bais sent an email soliciting tax return preparation services by a Certified Public Accountant named “Raj Malhotra.”

Bais admitted that while operating under the alias “Raj Malhotra,” he asked these victims for personal information, including copies of their driver’s licenses, Forms W-2, Forms 1099 and 1098, and other tax related documents. He also instructed these people to pay for the tax returns by submitting payments to his PayPal account. Bais and his partner prepared tax returns showing false Schedule C business losses, false “Other” losses, and false Schedule A items. Additionally, instead of sending the victims copies of the tax returns filed with the IRS, Bais and his partner sent fake copies that accurately reflected the individual tax liability of the victims.  Bais and his partner submitted the tax returns to the IRS using Intuit, Turbo Tax, and by submitting paper tax returns. To further conceal his crimes, Bais and his partner deposited cash into the victims’ real bank accounts in amounts that matched the refunds shown on the fake tax returns that he sent to them. Bais used the fraudulently obtained money to pay his mortgage on a property in Belmont and provided $27,000 to his partner to deposit into an account with the State Bank of India.

Bais, 41, of San Jose, was charged on April 17, 2013, with 14 counts of theft of government property and 14 counts of aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty to the 14 counts of theft of government property.

Bais’s  sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 30, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. before the Honorable Edward J. Davila, United States District Court Judge, in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of theft of government property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641, is 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Thomas Moore is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting this case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation the IRS, Criminal Investigation.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations and, as with all defendant, Sanjeev Bais must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.