General Crime

* Quality Assurance Travel Owners Charged with Allegedly Filing False Tax Returns

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Three family members who ran a charter bus service from the South Bay to a Madera County casino have been charged in federal court in San Jose with tax offenses related to an alleged failure to report $952,000 in cash receipts. San Jose residents Fidencio Moreno, Arturo Moreno and Elena Moreno, who operated Quality Assurance Travel Inc., were indicted by a federal grand jury Oct. 18 on charges of conspiring to defraud the government and filing false income tax returns for four years.

They pleaded not guilty during an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Paul Grewal in San Jose on Tuesday and were ordered to return to the court of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh for a status conference on Dec. 5. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service regional chief Marcus Williams today.

Fidencio and Arturo Moreno, who are brothers, are part owners of Quality Assurance Travel, based in Santa Clara. Elena Moreno, who is married to Fidencio, is the company’s bookkeeper. The company ran charter buses to the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, operated by the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, in Coarsegold in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Yosemite National Park.

According to the indictment, the casino paid the company a base amount for the bus service by check, and some passengers also paid $20 in cash for the roundtrip fare. The indictment alleges the three family members kept two sets of books and reported only the check amounts and not the cash receipts on their income taxes between 2006 and 2009. The conspiracy count of the indictment alleges the total amount of cash income not reported in those years was $952,000.

All three defendants are accused of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. They are also each charged with four counts of filing false income tax returns by failing to report their full income for the tax years 2006 through 2009. If they are convicted, the conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and the false return filing charges each have a maximum of three years.

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