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Hills woman sentenced to two years for tax dodging

A Los Altos Hills woman facing up to 25 years in prison for tax evasion received a much lighter sentence earlier this month.

A federal judge Jan. 13 sentenced Maria Virginia Reyes, 61, to two years in prison and three years supervised release after she admitted to tax evasion in October.

According to an indictment filed in March, Reyes failed to report $502,796 in taxable income between 2003 and 2007 while employed as a general manager for medical practices in Palo Alto and San Mateo. She lived in Menlo Park at the time, according to the indictment.

“Although she knew she was required to report all the income she made and pay taxes on that income, she failed to do so,” a U.S. Department of Justice press release stated.

Reyes claimed she was paying off credit card debt with the unreported tax funds, court documents show.

According to the press release, as an example, “On April 16, 2007, she filed an income tax return reporting taxable income of $16,638 when her true and correct taxable income was $267,338.”

Court documents filed by Reyes’ defense attorney stated that Reyes’ age and the fact she supports her daughter, an apparent recent victim of domestic abuse, and grandchild should dictate a more lenient sentence.

“Ms. Reyes has been instrumental in protecting and raising her grandchild and a low-end sentence will allow her to continue doing so,” the defense said.

Prosecutors originally charged Reyes with five felony counts, each punishable by five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She pleaded guilty to one count in March and, under a plea agreement, agreed to pay $141,815 in restitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

A U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman said Reyes is out on bail but is required to report to the U.S. Marshals Service no later than March 31 for incarceration.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted Reyes’ daughter, 36-year-old Christine, in March for failing to report $344,989 in taxable income from 2003 to 2006, upon which she owed $88,822. Her case is pending.

State reminds residents to

pay overdue taxes

Reyes’ sentencing comes as the California Tax Franchise Board, the state agency that collects personal and corporate income tax, notifies nearly 1 million California residents who did not file tax returns in 2009 that they are delinquent.

“What we’re saying is, we see you have income information for California – a W2, 1099 – but we don’t see a tax return,” said tax board spokeswoman Denise Azimi. “In case we’re missing something, we’re asking for an explanation why (tax returns) haven’t been returned.”

Azimi said 553 Los Altos residents are scheduled to receive notification that they have not filed 2009 returns. The number is down by two from last year. Countywide, 31,011 residents will receive letters, up from 30,611 last year.

“If you don’t respond, we issue a tax assessment that will show all income and give benefit of standard deductions, but there’s no way to calculate other exemptions,” Azimi said. “It’s really not the route most people want to go.”

Contact Elliott Burr at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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