Taking a Cut


When there’s easy money to be had, there are usually a few unscrupulous individuals just waiting to form an alliance if it means they get to take a cut from the illegal deal. An article published by the Tallahassee Democrat tells about one woman and two co-conspirators who used a fraudulent tax refund check cashing scheme to steal thousands of dollars from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article states that the woman who spearheaded the scheme used stolen personal identification information to cash more than $50,000 in IRS tax refund checks. (She also went to the trouble of obtaining fake power of attorney forms to cash some of the checks.) She shared a cut of the illegal proceeds with one co-conspirator, who prepared and filed the tax returns and with another one, who actually cashed the checks.

The 30-year-old woman was sentenced to four years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and stealing government property. She will also serve three years of supervised release after her prison term and will pay $54,324 in restitution to the IRS.

This case is an important reminder to guard your personal information. Congratulations to the investigators with the IRS and U.S. Secret Service for cutting off these fraudsters and bringing them to justice.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Tallahassee Women Sentenced to Federal Prison for Tax Return Fraud,” written by TaMaryn and published by the Tallahassee Democrat on April 10, 2015.

Federal officials today announced a Tallahassee woman has been sentenced to prison for stealing government property and aggravated identity theft.

Tashina Phillips, 30, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker. Phillips also was ordered to pay $54,324 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.