Federal authorities announced that a Hudson County woman pleaded guilty today to stealing over $1.5 million from over 100 victims made up mainly of non-profits, private schools, and religious institutions throughout New Jersey.
According to federal officials, Yezenia Castillo, 46, of Hoboken, pleaded guilty to an information charging her with one count each of wire fraud and tax evasion.
Court documents state that from 2012 through 2021, Castillo falsely claimed to be a CPA who could provide various financial and accounting services to non-profit organizations throughout New Jersey, including private schools and religious institutions.
Castillo was not a CPA and never provided any of these promised services. After she was hired, Castillo used various ways to steal from her clients, including collecting fees for services that she never performed and transferring client funds to herself without authorization.
According to court documents, Castillo also collected funds from clients by falsely claiming she would use it to pay their taxes, but she instead kept the money.
Federal authorities say to conceal her fraud, Castillo told victims that she had filed and paid their taxes, and she falsified receipts to make it appear to the victims as if their taxes were paid. Castillo defrauded over 100 victims, resulting in financial losses totaling over $1.5 million.
The wire fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.
The tax evasion charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 7, 2023.