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Press Release

Cairo Woman Sentenced To Prison For Tax-Related Frauds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois

Monica D. Nicholson, 44, of Cairo, Illinois, was sentenced for conspiring with others to submit false income tax reruns to the Internal Revenue Service for fraudulent tax refunds and for conspiring to commit the unlawful use of means of identification of other persons, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Nicholson received a total sentence of one-hundred and five months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution totaling $283,688.

“The enormity of this theft most certainly justifies the sentence received.” noted United States Attorney Wigginton. “People who steal from the government are, in fact, stealing from every one of us – the law abiding citizens of the United States.”

Evidence showed that Nicholson participated in a scheme to help others to obtain payment of false refunds from the IRS by causing others to file false 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, federal income tax returns claiming refunds to which they knew they were not entitled. Nicholson solicited, instructed, and assisted others in falsely claiming federal income tax refunds through the submission of false federal income tax returns. Nicholson gathered others’ identifying information, claimed fraudulent dependents, and transmitted this information over the telephone to a tax return preparer located in Memphis, Tennessee. As part of this conspiracy, the participants or those whose names appear as taxpayers on the fraudulent income tax returns (the filers) were required to pay Nicholson between approximately $200 and $300 per tax return from the tax refund received. During the 2011 and 2012 tax filing seasons, approximately 50 federal income tax returns were filed. The total refunds claimed by the 50 tax returns were approximately $406,228. Of the federal tax returns filed, the IRS paid out approximately $283,688 in fraudulent tax refunds. Monica D. Nicholson purchased dependents’ Social Security numbers from the guardians and/or parents of the dependents for filers who did not have legitimate dependents. The typical fee was $1,000 per Social Security number and this fee was paid from the fraudulent income tax refund received from the IRS.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Smith.

If you suspect or know of an individual or company that is not complying with the tax laws, you may report this activity by contacting the local Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigation Office at (618) 622-2160 or by mailing information to: Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA 93888.

Updated February 19, 2015