A Florida woman formerly from the St. Louis area on Tuesday was sentenced to prison for being the ringleader in an identity theft ring that tried to cheat the government out of nearly $1.5 million.
Tania Henderson, 28, of Wesley Chapel, Fla., was sentenced in federal court to 144 months in prison and must also pay $835,883 in restitution.
According to court documents, Henderson stole the identities of more than 400 people – many of whom had died – and filed fraudulent tax returns using their names and social security account numbers.
Henderson pled guilty on April 29 to one count of theft of government funds and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
Between August and November 2012, Henderson filed 236 fraudulent tax returns from her home in Florida.
She used a network of family would collect refund checks or prepaid debit cards for the refund amounts and liquidate the proceeds.
Three others in the network, Betty Kirkendoll, Patrina Taylor and Jason Bibbs, have already been prosecuted and sentenced.
Although Henderson filed tax returns calling for more than $1.8 million, the IRS was able to intercept nearly $1,000,000 in refunds before they came into Henderson’s control.
Henderson’s husband, Dwayne Denard Johnson, has been indicted for theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft.