A Southern California real estate agent who promoted a popular tax fraud scheme has been convicted of filing false claims.

Maribel Rincon, 42, was found guilty by a federal jury on three counts of causing the filing of false claims against the U.S. She was convicted Wednesday, following a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton. 

Rincon was previously charged on Sept. 28, 2011 with causing false fraudulent claims to be filed against the U.S. by claiming almost $2 million in fictitious federal income tax withholding and over $1.3 million in false federal income tax refunds to the IRS involving three of her clients.

According to court records, Maribel Rincon was a licensed real estate agent and promoter of De La Fuente Ramirez and Associates.  DLFRA and a related entity, Old Quest, promoted a fraudulent tax refund scheme focusing on the submission of false 1099-OID information returns. To date, 55 defendants have been charged and more than 35 have been convicted of taking part in the Old Quest/DLFRA fraud. As a promoter in DLFRA, Rincon generally received $1,000 from each customer, plus a percentage of any fraudulent refund received, according to prosecutors.

Three false federal income tax returns, involving three of Rincon’s clients, were filed with the IRS between Nov. 4, 2009 and June 2010. The fraudulent tax returns claiming fictitious OID-based withholding totaled $1,198,196 and the fictitious refunds totaled $1,331,576.

Two of Rincon’s clients, along with an IRS tax compliance officer and an accountant whom Rincon tried to recruit, testified in court. Rincon was allegedly told more than once that CPAs and reputable tax preparers have determined that the 1099 OID scheme was completely bogus, but she continued to promote the scheme after IRS Criminal Investigation served a search warrant at the business location of both DLFRA and Old Quest, according to prosecutors. 

She also engaged in obstructive behavior, including participating in a meeting with two other DLFRA promoters, Osman Norales and Christine Rincon, as well as witnesses who had been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. At the meeting, Rincon, Osman and Norales instructed the witnesses to lie to the grand jury investigating the OID scheme.

Rincon faces up to 15 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 8.

The case is being investigated by special agents with IRS Criminal Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Pell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Santa Ana, Calif.