Tampa Woman Sentenced to Two Years for Tax Fraud
Tampa, FL - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore today sentenced Patricia Shaw (36, Tampa) to 24 months in federal prison for tax fraud. The court also ordered Shaw to make mandatory restitution payments to the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $126,002. Shaw pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false claim on October 4, 2011, before the Honorable Elizabeth A. Jenkins, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
In her plea agreement, Shaw admitted that from at least 2006, through and including April 2011, she agreed with at least two other co-conspirators to knowingly engage in a scheme to defraud the U.S. government. Pursuant to the scheme, Shaw and others obtained identifying information from individuals, including social security numbers, and used this information to prepare and electronically file dozens of false income tax returns. In some cases, the individuals whose names and social security numbers appeared on these false returns did not know that Shaw and others were filing income tax returns on their behalf. In other instances, the individuals willingly provided their identifying information to be used in the filing of false tax returns in exchange for a nominal fee. Shaw and her co-conspirators also filed false tax returns on behalf of themselves and their family members.
These fraudulent returns claimed income on a Form 1099-Misc. and most listed the same or similar occupations for the filers, including barber, hair stylist, lawn care, and care taker. These false returns claimed income in amounts ranging from approximately $10,000 to $30,000, and resulted in a refund due because these returns falsely claimed that federal income taxes were withheld from the supposed tax payer. Shaw and her co-conspirators frequently listed their home addresses as the tax payer's address. Shaw and others generated the false returns using tax preparation software,and then caused the fraudulent returns to be electronically filed with the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS").
When Shaw and her co-conspirators electronically filed these returns that Shaw knew to be false, it caused the IRS to generate refunds payable to the filer. These refunds were most often deposited into a Bank of America bank account controlled by Shaw's co-conspirator. The proceeds of the fraudulent refunds were then divided or were intended to be divided among the conspirators. Law enforcement has identified 24 fraudulent tax returns that were created and caused to be filed by Shaw for the tax years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. In total, these 24 fraudulent tax returns generated undue tax refunds totaling $126,002.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Mandy Riedel.
This case was prosecuted as part of Operation Rainmaker, a coordinated effort among the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida and various federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, IRS, United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department to combat the filing of false tax returns in the Tampa Bay region.