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IRS fraud: Rochester woman admits to defrauding state, federal tax agencies

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  • Staff Report 

Melanie Armstrong, a 55-year-old from Rochester, NY, has pleaded guilty to charges related to defrauding the IRS and the New York State Tax Department during the COVID-19 pandemic. The confession took place before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson, with Armstrong facing a potential maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine for her actions involving wire fraud, filing false claims, and identity theft.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Between July 2020 and August 2021, Armstrong exploited the identities of others to illicitly obtain New York State Department of Labor unemployment benefits and also claimed unemployment benefits for herself by falsely stating she had no income. In total, Armstrong unlawfully received $131,400.10 in benefits, aiming for over $250,000 in fraudulent claims. Additionally, she was involved in filing 19 false income tax returns with the IRS and 17 with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, resulting in $101,255 and $18,758 in fraudulent refunds, respectively.

The guilty plea follows a thorough investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, the IRS-Criminal Investigations, and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Armstrong’s sentencing is pending, highlighting the legal system’s efforts to crack down on fraud, especially those exploiting the COVID-19 national emergency.



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