Tennessee couple gets 3-year sentence in $10.8m tax fraud

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Tennessee husband and wife face sentences of about three years in prison for a scheme to defraud U.S. taxpayers by $10.8 million.

U.S. Attorney Nancy Stallard Harr’s office says 48-year-old Bertha Del Pilar Vargas and her husband Martin Ayala, 45, must also pay more than $2.4 million.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan sentenced the Knoxville residents Wednesday for tax fraud and money laundering conspiracies.

In June, the couple pleaded guilty to the conspiracies, which involved submitting fraudulent federal income tax returns.

The news release says the scheme included using fake ID documents to get refundable tax credits, resulting in $10.8 million stolen from taxpayers.

Vargas received a 34-month sentence. Ayala was handed a 37-month sentence.