Three ex-Chase bank workers admit $4.8 million tax fraud

NEW YORK Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:18pm EDT

A woman walks past JP Morgan Chase's international headquarters on Park Avenue in New York July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton

A woman walks past JP Morgan Chase's international headquarters on Park Avenue in New York July 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Burton

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three former employees at JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) branches in New York pleaded guilty on Monday to using the identities of Puerto Rican customers to file fraudulent tax returns, U.S. authorities said.

The three were charged in January by Manhattan federal prosecutors with orchestrating two separate tax fraud schemes between 2006 and 2007 that cheated the Internal Revenue Service and New York State out of $4.8 million.

Katherine Torres, 52, a former manager at a Chase branch in the New York borough of the Bronx, and Rosalind Smith, 41, who also worked there, were charged in the first scheme, along with another person against whom charges are still pending.

Judith Fulgencio, 32, who worked at a Chase branch at Yankee Stadium, was charged in a second scheme.

The three pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal government funds, prosecutors said. They face a maximum of five years in prison at sentencing.

Steven Brill, an attorney for Torres, said she had "accepted responsibility for what she did." Attorneys for Fulgencio and Smith could not be reached for comment immediately.

A JPMorgan spokesman declined comment on the guilty pleas.

JPMorgan, whose $2.29 trillion of assets make it the biggest U.S.-based bank, has been fighting to reclaim its reputation after it built up a massive credit derivatives portfolio that had trading losses of nearly $6 billion.

The losses from the bets, known as the "London Whale trades", were a huge black eye for the bank's CEO Jamie Dimon, long praised for his risk-management skills.

The cases are U.S.A. v. Torres and U.S.A. v. Fulgencio, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Nos. 12-cr-69 and 12-cr-69.

(Reporting By Basil Katz; Editing by Paul Tait)

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