Big Island resident Sherilyn K. Wahinekapu, 60, was arraigned and pled not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to six counts of making a false claim to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Wahinekapu was arrested by federal agents early Monday morning based on an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 12. Trial was set for June 13.
According to court documents, Wahinekapu filed six tax returns for tax years 2006 through 2008, each one claiming a false tax refund.
The fraudulently claimed refund amounts ranged from $40,941 to $1,652,187.
The indictment alleges Wahinekapu knew these refund totals were false and fradulent because they were based on false and fictitious 1099-OID, or Original Issue Discount, interest income amounts and income tax withholdings.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii Florence T. Nakakuni said it is important that all persons who have a duty to file an income tax return complete it accurately and truthfully without seeking refunds they know are not due to them.
Individuals who choose to file fraudulent claims against the U.S. will be investigated and prosecuted, according to the Dept. of Justice.
Each count of making a false claim against the U.S. carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.