California woman racks up hotel bills posing as IRS agent
by AccountingWEB on
A woman who amassed more than $55,000 in debt to a Marin County, CA, hotel by posing as an Internal Revenue Service agent has been charged with impersonating a federal employee.
Sherry Lynn Vertoch, 64, did not enter a plea when she was charged January 27 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Owners of the Inn Marin in Novato contend that Vertoch conned them by pretending to be an IRS agent, even though she never worked for the agency as an employee or a contractor. She lived in the hotel beginning in October 2002, but her usual cash payments became irregular in mid-2008, the newspaper reported. Robert Marshall, one of the hotel’s owners, contacted the U.S. Department of the Treasury last month.
Vertoch told the owners she was part of a team that investigated Enron Corp. and “finally brought them down,” according to an affidavit by Special Agent John Hartman of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. She blamed the IRS for not paying her hotel bills, saying that because she was a contract employee, she could not be paid until the end of an investigation.
She allegedly told the hotel owners that the IRS office in Los Angeles had finally approved her payment request, and it was in the hands of a committee in Washington, D.C. The affidavit also stated that she carried a handgun, which she called “government issue,” Marinscope Newspapers reported.
Marshall told the San Francisco Chronicle that the hotel has not been paid. The total bill is $55,175.
“We had been under the impression for eight years that she was a special agent with the IRS. That was the only reason we tolerated this,” Marshall said.
“I’m extremely frustrated. The real crime is that we’re a local family business. We don’t have deep pockets, and basically she’s taken money from our children and the families of all our employees,” he said. “It’s tough times right now.”