Former MN Tax Auditor Sentenced for $1.9M Scheme

Pamela Marie Dellis allegedly defrauded the state of $1.9 million through the creation of more than 200 false tax refunds.

Pamela Marie Dellis, a former auditor for the Minnesota Department of Revenue, was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for allegedly creating false tax refunds worth $1.9 million, the state's U.S. Attorney's office said.

Dellis, a 59-year-old woman from Lindstrom, was responsible for processing tax overpayments in her capacity as an auditor. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Dellis falsified records-more than 200 times-to imply that a taxpayer was owed a refund due to an overpayment. She then drafted refund checks made payable to her sister, Nancy Sondrall, or niece, Laurie Sondrall-both from Minnesota.

Sometimes, Dellis and her relatives cashed the checks and split up the proceeds among them. Other times, in an effort to conceal the fraud, they deposited the money into an account prior to withdrawing the funds.

The three women were charged in January, and they pleaded guilty in March. Laurie Sondrall was sentenced in March to 27 months in prison on one count of conspiracy. Nancy Sondrall, whose sentencing is scheduled for later this month, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. All three defendants will be required to pay more than $1.9 million in restitution.

In their plea agreements, Dellis and her relatives admitted that from January 2005 through September 2010, they created more than 200 false tax refunds. U.S. District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen sentenced Dellis on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of money laundering.