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Ringleader of Mother-Daughter Tax Fraud Scheme Gets 10 Months In Prison

CHRISTIANSTED — The ringleader of a mother-and-daughter tax fraud scheme was given two more months in prison than her daughter by a federal judge.

Patricia Henry, 52, was sentenced Friday to ten months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Wilma Lewis on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States for her part in a tax fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

The sentencing follows a five-day jury trial on St. Croix that ended November 17, 2020.

Evidence presented at trial indicated that, as part of a tax fraud scheme, $8,918 was deposited into Patricia Henry’s account, stemming from a false tax return, and $10,068 generated from another false return, also filed in the defendant’s name.

The money was transferred to Patricia Henry by her daughter, codefendant, Phiona Henry, after the money was initially deposited into one of Phiona Henry’s bank accounts. An additional $106,382 was also deposited into Phiona’s bank account as part of the fraudulent scheme. Phiona Henry was sentenced to eight months of federal incarceration on February 26, 2021 after pleading guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.

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.

Patricia 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 then 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. In addition to the term of her incarceration, the Patricia Henry was sentenced to a term of 3 years of supervised release and ordered to pay a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.00, along with restitution to the Internal Revenue Service of $18,986.

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.

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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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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