Former NASA investigator guilty of tax fraud

A former NASA investigator who had worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge has pleaded guilty to filing a fraudulent federal tax return that failed to report nearly $300,000 he stole from a Lancaster church.

Alvin Danielle Allen, 42, was a special agent with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, which conducts audits of agency operations and investigates allegations of fraud, waste and misconduct.

NASA Office of Inspector General spokeswoman Renee Juhans said Allen worked out of an Inspector General satellite office at JPL for nearly 10 years. He worked at NASA until November 2009, according to court records.

Allen pleaded guilty last year in Los Angeles County Superior Court to grand theft by embezzlement for stealing cash tithes at Lancaster Baptist Church, where he was a deacon and served on a committee that counted donations after services.

“Allen violated the trust placed in him by NASA, as well as his church community for his own personal financial gain,” Leslie DeMarco, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Field Office in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

Allen was sentenced to four years in state prison, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

On Thursday, Allen pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of subscribing to a false 2004 federal tax return, but admitted in his plea agreement to stealing $299,975 from the church from 2004 through 2008, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The former NASA investigator faces up to three years in federal prison on the tax evasion charge. He remains in custody awaiting sentencing on Nov. 7 in downtown Los Angeles.

Allen will also be required to file amended tax returns and pay $88,000 in back taxes and penalties, according to his plea agreement. His federal prison sentence will run concurrent to his state prison sentence, according to the agreement.

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