LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California woman accused of filing more than 200 fraudulent tax returns worth more than $1 million in refunds, using the stolen identities of dead people, was hit with federal charges on Thursday.

Uzeegoa Makeba Sayles, 39, was charged with three counts of filing a false claim against the United States and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say they uncovered the scheme when the Internal Revenue Service noticed that numerous tax returns requested funds be deposited in a small number of bank accounts and traced those accounts to Sayles and her family members.

The IRS also determined that the people supposedly filing the more than 200 returns were dead, U.S. Attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek said.

Mrozek said Sayles admitted to IRS agents that she had prepared and submitted the returns. She is scheduled for an initial court appearance on May 3.