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Press Release

Woman Sentenced for Tax Refund Fraud and ID Theft Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Hampton woman was sentenced today to nine years in prison for tax refund fraud and identity theft.

According to court documents, Tonya Nicole Matthews, aka Tonya Nicole Williams, 44, has a previous conviction for tax refund fraud and identity theft, and was serving a term of federal supervised release when she undertook her most recent scheme. Over the course of more than four years, Williams filed 172 fraudulent federal income tax returns in the names of 75 stolen identities for over $450,000. Each of these returns claimed that the individuals in whose names they were filed had earned income from one of three fake businesses that Matthews created to further her scheme. To legitimize these claims, Matthews incorporated the businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia, registered them with the IRS, and filed false wage and withholding documents in which she claimed the businesses had paid millions of dollars in wages to her identity theft victims and withheld over $500,000 in taxes from those wages as required by law. Matthews filed all of the false returns electronically from her residence in Hampton, using accounts she had created in her victims’ names. Matthews directed the IRS to deposit the claimed refunds into prepaid debit card accounts she had also opened in the victims’ names.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Kimberly Lappin, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kaitlin C. Gratton prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:16-cr-95.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Communications

Updated November 1, 2017

Identity Theft