Pleasanton Weekly

News - July 15, 2011

Former resident admits to income tax evasion

Didn't report nearly $4 million taken from former employer

by Glenn Wohltmann

A former Pleasanton resident has taken a plea deal on three federal charges of income tax evasion.

Ranni K. Hillyer Oceana, 57, also known as Ranni K. Hillyer, pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of tax evasion, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

Hillyer Oceana was hired by Ramsell Corp. as the chief financial officer and was appointed as the chief operating officer in 2003. During 2002, 2003 and 2004, Hillyer Oceana was a financial investment advisor for Ramsell's CEO and was given authority to handle his personal and business banking as well as having signatory authority over his bank accounts.

Between 2002 and 2004, Hillyer Oceana took nearly $3.9 million from the CEO's bank accounts, according to the plea agreement, which said she used the money to pay vendors who worked on her personal residence, to pay off a line of credit at Bank of America, to pay for business expenses, to buy real estate for herself and a family member, and to loan money to others.

In doing so, Hillyer Oceana evaded income taxes on the millions she took by failing to report those funds on her federal income tax returns for 2002, 2003 and 2004. Federal authorities said she owes nearly $1.4 million in back taxes.

Hillyer Oceana currently resides in San Diego. She was indicted on in October 2009, and is set to be sentenced Oct. 12.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of tax evasion is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution.

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