florida woman sentenced for running stolen identity tax fraud scheme
St. Louis, MO – TANIA HENDERSON of Wesley Chapel, Florida, was sentenced to 144 months in prison for her role in leading a stolen identity tax fraud scheme during 2012. In addition to the term of imprisonment, Henderson was ordered to repay the IRS $835,883 in restitution. She appeared in federal court in St. Louis before United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson.
According to Henderson's plea agreement and other court documents, Henderson stole the identities of more than 400 individuals, many of whom were deceased, and filed fraudulent tax returns using their names and social security account numbers. Henderson pled guilty on April 29, 2013, to one count of theft of government funds and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
Between August and November 2012, Henderson filed 236 fraudulent tax returns from her home in Florida. Using a network of family and friends, she would collect refund checks or prepaid debit cards for the refund amounts and liquidate the proceeds of her scheme. Three of this network, Betty Kirkendoll, Patrina Taylor and Jason Bibbs, have already been prosecuted and sentenced.
"Stealing identities and filing false tax returns is a serious crime that hurts innocent taxpayers. Today's sentence should serve as a strong warning to those who are considering similar conduct," said Sybil Smith, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation.
Although Henderson filed tax returns calling for more than $1.8 million dollars, the IRS was able to intercept nearly $1,000,000 in refunds before they came into Henderson's control.
Henderson’s husband, Dwayne Denard Johnson, also of Wesley Chapel, Florida, has been indicted for theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft and awaits trial in the Eastern District of Missouri. As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Mr. Johnson is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Tom Albus handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.