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St. Croix Woman Who Stole $108,382 In Income Tax Refunds Gets Less Than 1 Year In Prison: USAO

CHRISTIANSTED — The daughter involved in a mother-and-daughter tax fraud scheme was sentenced to less than a year in federal prison on Wednesday for her role in diverting more than one thousand dollars of income tax refunds intended for other people to her and her mother.

Phiona Henry, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Wilma Lewis on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Henry received a term in prison of 8 months with three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.00 along with restitution to the Internal Revenue Service of $106,382.00, Shappert said.

According to court documents, Phiona Henry, her mother Patricia Henry, and others participated in a scheme to unlawfully obtain money from the United States treasury by fraudulently acquiring federal income tax refunds during the period from 2010 to 2013.

The scheme involved the acquisition of personal identifying information used to electronically file falsified tax returns for tax years 2009 through 2012.

Henry aided others in the filing of tax returns in individuals’ true names and actual social security numbers but falsified the individuals’ income earned, tax withholding amounts, credits, and other information, and thereby claimed refunds to which they were not entitled.

Persons involved in the scheme designated bank accounts for receipt
of the refunds, which, once received, they subsequently withdrew from the bank. Phiona Henry entered a guilty plea on May 3, 2019.

Co-defendant Patricia Henry, 52, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States government after a five-day jury trial which ended on November 17, 2020.

Patricia Henry is scheduled to be sentenced on May 10 and faces up to 10 years incarceration.

“The prosecution of this fraud scheme is the result of years of investigative work by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, which identified and dismantled a massive stolen identity refund fraud scheme perpetrated in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere,” Shappert said.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Ortiz.

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