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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Kentucky

Friday, September 18, 2015

Jury Convicts Lexington Woman of Filing False Tax Returns

Defendant Claimed Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Tax Refunds

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A federal jury convicted Winona Jean Cox, of Lexington, Ky., of filing four false income tax returns and then obstructing the Internal Revenue Service from recovering a fraudulently-claimed refund check.

On Thursday, the jury convicted Cox, 40, of four counts of filing false tax claims and one count of interfering with the administration of the internal revenue laws. The jury reached its verdicts after three days of trial and two hours of deliberation.

At trial, the United States proved that Cox falsely claimed over $477,000 in tax refunds during tax years 2005 through 2008. Cox’s fraud involved over-reporting interest income and tax withholding, using counterfeit IRS 1099-OID forms. Cox then submitted claims for tax refunds based on those inflated amounts.

Evidence at trial also proved that, after Cox was mailed a tax refund check for one of the fraudulent returns, she attempted to obstruct the IRS from recovering that money, by assigning the titles of her three homes and her car to nominee trusts and wire transferring most of the refund into a bank account under a different name.

Cox faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the filing false claims counts, and three years in prison for interfering with the administration of the internal revenue laws. Sentencing is currently scheduled for December 14, 2015 before U.S. District Judge Joseph Hood. Any sentence imposed by the Court will come after careful consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes governing imposition of sentences. Under federal law, Cox must serve at least 85 percent of her prison sentence.

Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; and Christopher A. Henry, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, jointly made the announcement.

The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neeraj Gupta and Ken Taylor prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government.

Updated February 4, 2016