LOS ANGELES - A former employee with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services pleaded guilty today to stealing the identities of 64 people while working as a receptionist for the county and using the information to file fraudulent tax returns, according to officials with the Internal Revenue Service.
The identities she stole resulted in a loss to the IRS of more than $357,000, according to federal officials.
Veronica Niko, 36, of Lancaster, pleaded guilty to one count of transfer/use of means of identification to commit an unlawful activity.
Niko is facing up to 15 years in prison. She will be sentenced in June.
Niko, who formerly worked as a receptionist in the Lancaster office of Public Social Services, used her position to obtain the names and Social Security Numbers which were used to file the fraudulent tax returns, according to IRS officials.
She had contact with people who were applying for aid from the county agency.
Niko admitted giving the stolen identities her husband and co-defendant Thomas Marshall, 37, of Lancaster, who has admitted his role in these crimes.
In addition to Niko, four other defendants were charged in the scheme. Marshall pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy and will be sentenced in March.