Columbus Woman Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Tawnya Writesel, also known as Tawnya Rutan, 39, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to submit false claims for income tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Writesel filed at least 100 false income tax returns in an attempt to receive more than half a million dollars in fraudulent tax returns.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, announced the guilty plea offered before U.S. Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King.
According to court documents, between April 2012 and September 2015, Writesel conspired to defraud the IRS by filing approximately 100 false income tax returns in an attempt to obtain fraudulent income tax refunds totaling approximately $548,382.00. As a result of the false income tax return filings, a total of $226,677.50 in fraudulent income tax refunds was released by the IRS to Writesel and/or other coconspirators.
Writesel used the identification of real people, including names, social security numbers and dates of birth, and used the identifying information as either the taxpayers or the dependents on the false income tax returns. The majority of these false tax returns contained fictitious information including false Schedule C income and expenses, and fraudulently claimed education and Earned Income Credits.
Co-defendants Michael (also known as Mickey) A. Prisley, Amy K. France and Denard T. Nelson were also charged in relation to this case.
Prisley was an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio and had served as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Athens County, Ohio from approximately August 2011 through January 2014. He pleaded guilty in April 2018 to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims and is awaiting sentencing.
France pleaded guilty in June 2016 to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims and one count of identity theft and was sentenced in January to 37 months in prison. France was also ordered to pay nearly $467,000 in restitution.
Nelson pleaded guilty in September 2015 to one count of identity theft and was sentenced in May 2016 to five years of probation. He was also ordered to pay more than $87,000 in restitution.
“This is the last defendant to plead guilty in this conspiracy, one in which they all chose to line their pockets with stolen income tax refunds,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the IRS Criminal Investigation, and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica H. Kim, who is prosecuting the case.
# # #