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Former San Diego Woman Pleads Guilty to Grand Theft, State Income Tax Evasion

Released: February 03, 2009

(Sacramento) – A former resident of San Diego pleaded guilty to one felony count of grand theft with an enhancement for taking more than $150,000 and one felony count of state income tax evasion, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) said.

Diane Winters, 43, now resides in Arkansas. During the years 2002 – 2005, Winters was employed as a payroll manager for a real estate management firm. According to court records, Winters embezzled more than $233,000 from her employer during these same years. In addition, she failed to report the embezzled funds on her state income tax returns for 2002 and 2003 and failed to file her 2004 and 2005 tax returns to report either her wages or the embezzled funds. All income is taxable including income from illegal sources.

Winters sentencing and restitution hearing is scheduled for April 6. Winters owes the State more than $45,000 in unpaid tax, penalties, interest, and the cost of the investigation.

The failure to file tax returns is part of the $6.5 billion tax gap California faces each year. The tax gap is defined as the difference between the tax that is owed and the tax that is paid.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael T. Smyth presided over the case yesterday in Department 30 of the San Diego County Superior Court Central Courthouse. Deputy District Attorney Christine Ryan of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. This was a joint investigation between the San Diego County District Attorney’s office and FTB.