HONOLULU – Leihinahina Sullivan, 49, of Lihue, Kauai, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Chief Justice J. Michael Seabright to three counts of wire fraud and one count of identity theft aggravated linked to multiple long-standing fraudulent schemes. Sentencing is set before Chief Justice Seabright on December 2, 2021.
Court documents and information provided to the court describe three fraud schemes perpetrated by Sullivan. As of January 31, 2011, until at least August 23, 2017, Sullivan devised a tax evasion scheme to obtain tax refunds from the IRS and the State of Hawaii that she and others do. had no right to receive by making false statements. for herself and for others. False federal and state income tax returns included fictitious expenses, credit requests, and other items that Sullivan knew to be false when made. Sullivan did not review these tax returns with individuals before filing them on their behalf.
Sullivan transferred the fraudulent tax refunds to several bank accounts she had access to and controlled, including her personal bank accounts and those of friends and family, and a nonprofit entity that she was in control. Sullivan then spent those tax refunds on personal expenses for herself, her family and friends.
The second scheme involved educational fraud and began on January 8, 2011 and lasted at least February 1, 2017. For university students, Sullivan prepared and submitted bogus applications for student loans, grants, scholarships and financial aid and documents asking for money from the public. and private providers of financial and educational assistance. Sullivan transferred some of the money from student financial aid applications to her personal bank accounts and other bank accounts she controlled, and then spent the money on her own personal and other expenses, such as building a house, shopping at retail and its bills.
In the latest fraud scheme, Sullivan used the personal identifying information of many people, such as social security numbers and dates of birth, to apply for and use credit cards on behalf of other people without their permission. . In one case, she submitted an electronic credit card application for someone she knew had died on the same day she sent the application.
Sullivan faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 250,000 for each of the three counts of wire fraud, and a mandatory sentence of two years in addition to any other sentence imposed. by court and fined up to $ 250,000 for aggravated identity theft when convicted. Chief Justice Seabright will determine any sentence after reviewing US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting U.S. Attorney Judith A. Philips and IRS Special Agent for Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) Corinne Kalve made the announcement today.
Acting US attorney Philips said: “Sullivan’s fraud was massive and lasted for years. His network of lies and manipulations ends with this affair. She will be held responsible for the damage she caused by her fraudulent schemes and for the money she stole from friends, family, members of her community, and public and private institutions.
“Sullivan admitted to defrauding his community and taking money from taxpayers, students and financial institutions for his own profit,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Corinne Kalve of the IRS-CI. “This guilty plea is a reminder that the IRS-CI will continue to track money and investigate those who prey on their communities.”
This conviction is the result of an investigation conducted by the IRS-CI and involving the Department of Education, the Office of the Inspector General and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebecca A. Perlmutter and Mohammad Khatib of the District of Hawaii are continuing the case.