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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 10, 2015

Local Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Tax Refund Fraud and Identity Theft

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Tashina Phillips, 30, of Tallahassee, was sentenced to federal prison this week by United States District Judge Mark E. Walker for theft of government property and aggravated identity theft.  The sentence was announced today by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Between 2012 and 2013, Phillips cashed more than $50,000 in fraudulent IRS tax refund checks using other people’s personal identification information.  In this scheme, Phillips paid a portion of the fraudulent proceeds to the individual who initially prepared the fraudulent tax return, and she also paid a commission to the individual who cashed the fraudulent refund check for her.  In some instances, Phillips obtained fraudulent power of attorney forms to cash the fraudulent refund checks.

Phillips was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison, 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $52,324.50 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

“With the tax deadline only five days away, this sentence serves as an important reminder of carefully guarding personal information,” said U.S. Attorney Marsh.  “Stolen identity tax refund fraud is harmful to all honest taxpayers, and we are grateful to our law enforcement partners who help bring these thieves to justice.”

This case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the United States Secret Service.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James M. Ustynoski.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  The office strives to protect and serve the citizens of the Northern District of Florida through the ethical, vigorous, and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, to defend the national security, to improve the safety and quality of life in our communities through the protection of civil rights, and to protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States.  To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

Updated April 10, 2015