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Press Release

Clermont Woman Convicted For Tax Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury yesterday found Tanya Fox (38, Clermont) guilty of 1 count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, 5 counts of wire fraud, 10 counts of theft of government property, and 10 counts of aggravated identity theft. Fox faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the conspiracy count, 20 years’ imprisonment on each of the wire fraud counts, and 10 years with regard to each of the theft of government property counts. She faces an additional 2 years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charges, with the sentence to run consecutive to any sentence imposed on the previous charges. The United States will also seek a money judgment in the amount of $4,055,735 for the wire fraud and theft of government property charges. The judgment relates to the amount of fraudulent tax refunds that Fox and her co-conspirators received. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for October 20, 2014. Fox was originally indicted on March 14, 2014.

According to evidence introduced during the trial, Fox orchestrated a scheme to file fraudulent tax returns using identities that were stolen from a variety of sources. Fox directed other individuals to open business bank accounts in the name of a fraudulent tax preparation business and have the tax refunds deposited into those accounts. Fox worked with those individuals to withdraw the funds and spend the money. As part of the scheme, Fox attempted to receive approximately $5.8 million in fraudulent tax returns and was successful in receiving more than $4 million from the United States Treasury.

According to the testimony at trial, Fox spent the money received from the fraudulent tax returns to purchase a BMW 7 Series, Infinity M35, Chrysler Crossfire, and Volkswagen Beetle. The government has seized each of these vehicles. Fox also purchased a Maserati with the fraudulently-obtained proceeds. However, the Maserati was repossessed before it could be seized. Fox also used the proceeds from these offenses to have cosmetic surgery on two occasions and open a restaurant in the Orlando area.

Previously, Shanterica Smith, Gerald Williams, and Delray Duncan were convicted and sentenced for providing approximately 2,400 names from the Orange County Health Department to Fox, so that she and her co-conspirators could file the fraudulent tax returns. Smith was previously sentenced to 60 months in prison for her role in the conspiracy. Williams was sentenced to 54 months’ imprisonment, and Duncan was sentenced to 42 months in prison. In addition, April Cuyler pleaded guilty to conspiracy in this scheme and is scheduled for sentencing on September 8, 2014.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn P. Napier.

Updated January 26, 2015