A former tax examiner for the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in the theft of $415,000 from city coffers.
Mary Ayers-Zander, 47, of College Park, was sentenced Monday in federal court in the District. As part of her plea agreement Ayers-Zander will also have to pay back the money she stole.
"Mary Ayers-Zander treated the D.C. treasury like her personal piggy bank," said U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr.
Ayers-Zander, a tax examiner, began stealing from District taxpayers in February 2007 -- about the same time that authorities were uncovering the largest government swindle in the city's history just down the hallway inside the same tax office.
Over the next four years, on dozens of occasions, Ayers-Zander wired thousand of dollars to her own bank accounts, prosecutors said.
Ayers-Zander's scheme was not connected to D.C. tax office manager Harriette Walters' $50 million embezzlement scheme, which went on for 20 years before anybody noticed.
City officials said the measures put in place after the Walters case helped detect the Ayers-Zander theft.
In January 2011, a tax office official noticed an unusual pattern of refunds being paid and the office notified the FBI, the city's inspector general and auditor.
The findings were reported to the FBI's Washington Field Office and the Inspector General's Office for the District of Columbia.
Prosecutors said that from 2007 to 2011, Ayers-Zander accessed taxpayer accounts and entered fraudulent changes that resulted in 48 refunds for those individuals.
But most of the money, about $365,000, was wired directly to two bank accounts controlled by Ayers-Zander.
She also fraudulently credited the accounts of five other individuals and wired $46,000 in fraudulent refunds to those people, prosecutors said.
She also filed fraudulent income tax returns for individuals, including a $2,195 refund wired to an individual's bank account in California, documents allege.
The FBI determined that no other OTR employees were involved in Ayers-Zander's scheme, city officials said.