Oklahoma City Daughter and Mother Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Framing of Family Member
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – KASHARA STEWART, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and her mother, WONICA STEWART POPE, also of Oklahoma City, were sentenced yesterday to federal prison respectively for tax-refund fraud and making a false statement to a federal agent, announced Mark A. Yancey, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
On February 22, 2017, a federal grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment charging Kashara Stewart with seven counts of tax fraud and seven counts of aggravated identity theft. It alleged that from January 2012 through December 2012, Kashara Stewart filed false federal income tax returns in the names of individuals, without their knowledge or permission, and attached false W-2s for employers that did not employ the purported tax filers in the relevant tax years. Those false tax returns directed the IRS to deposit the claimed tax refunds into Kashara Stewart’s bank account.
The Superseding Indictment also charged Kashara Stewart’s mother, Pope, with one count of making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer. On August 27, 2013, during the investigation of Kashara Stewart’s stolen identity refund fraud, Pope left a voicemail for an IRS–Criminal Investigations Special Agent in which she falsely confessed to the crime. Pope falsely stated she was her sister, Wenoca Stewart Williams, to shift blame away from her daughter.
On November 1, 2016, based in part on Pope’s phone call to IRS–Criminal Investigations, a federal grand jury charged Wenoca Stewart Williams, along with Kashara Stewart, with conspiracy and tax fraud. After learning that Pope had framed Williams, the United States moved to dismiss the charges against Williams, who is no longer charged with any federal crime.
On May 5, 2017, Kashara Stewart pled guilty to filing a false claim for a tax refund. Pope entered a guilty plea the same day to making a false statement to a federal official. She admitted she left a voicemail message for an IRS Special Agent in which she posed as Williams and purported to confess to Kashara Stewart’s tax fraud.
Yesterday Chief U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton sentenced Kashara Stewart to 38 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. She must also pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $352,449. Judge Heaton sentenced Pope to 30 months in prison. He found that she substantially interfered in the administration of justice by giving three separate false confessions in late August and early September 2013. After imprisonment, she will serve two years on supervised release.
This case is the result of an investigation by IRS–Criminal Investigations and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney K. McKenzie Anderson.