Federal prosecutors in St. Louis, Missouri have charged a Pasco County woman in a scheme they allege involved tax fraud and identity theft. Authorities claim 27-year-old Tania Nichole Henderson of Wesley Chapel was the ringleader of a theft ring that defrauded the federal government out of nearly $1.5 million.
Henderson was arrested on the same day that a search warrant was executed at her Wesley Chapel home. Authorities reported they found $5,000 cash, debit cards and personal identification information of several people.
The criminal complaint filed in Missouri alleges that 191 fraudulent tax returns in the names of identity theft victims – some living, some dead – were filed from a computer in Henderson’s home. The refunds, including some already paid via refund checks and debit cards, amounted to nearly $1.5 million.
Prosecutors say Henderson used a network of accomplices and shared proceeds with them. The complaint said 27 refunds were issued to addresses to Florida, 14 to Missouri and three to Maryland.
Just a few weeks ago, we reported on a Palm Harbor man charged in a similar alleged tax refund fraud scheme. In late September, 39 other area residents were indicted in a large scale tax refund scheme. And just last week, it was reported that several former Hillsborough football players were charged in another similar tax fraud scheme.
Based on the increase in indictments and arrests, it is clear that local and federal law enforcement are focusing on the investigation of identity theft and alleged income tax fraud in the Tampa Bay area. If you or someone you know is the subject of one of these investigations, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Tampa Bay area criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.