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Posing as congressional aide nets criminal charge for Atwater woman

POSTED May 25, 2012 9:55 p.m.

An Atwater tax consultant is facing a federal criminal charge of impersonating a congressional aide in what authorities say was an attempt to solve a client’s tax problems.

The indictment, filed in the Eastern District of California, charges Susan Tomsha-Miguel, 51, of impersonation of an officer or an employee of the United States.

According to the indictment, Tomsha-Miguel operated a tax consulting and bookkeeping business in Atwater. A client, who owned a commercial business in Merced, hired Tomsha-Miguel to resolve a tax dispute with the Internal Revenue Service. Tomsha-Miguel requested help with the tax problems from the office of U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Cardoza, who represents the 18th Congressional District, which includes Merced County, as well as parts of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Madera and Fresno counties.

Rep. Cardoza’s office agreed to help, and transmitted written material, including a form printed under his official Congressional letterhead, to Tomsha-Miguel. Some time thereafter, Tomsha-Miguel allegedly sent her client a counterfeit letter supposedly written under Cardoza’s official letterhead and purportedly written and signed by an aide to Cardoza, the indictment alleges.

The letter falsely claimed that due to Tomsha-Miguel’s efforts on behalf of her client, Cardoza’s aide had contacted an IRS official. The counterfeit letter claimed that the IRS official had agreed to make resolving the client’s tax dispute his “number one priority” after he returned from “Washington, D.C. for an emergency strategy meeting with the U.S. Treasury Secretary and others for a planning session in the event a budget does not get passed by both the House and Senate.”

The indictment alleges that, in reality, the aide did not exist and Tomsha-Miguel had forged the letterhead by copying-and-pasting Cardoza’s official letterhead onto a blank sheet of paper. The indictment further alleges that Tomsha-Miguel had written the letter from the non-existent aide herself and then sent it to her client in order to mislead her client into believing that she had succeeded in alleviating his tax problems.

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