Follow-up: Boca Raton Regional Hospital patient scheduler and co-conspirator plead guilty in tax refund fraud scheme

More on a case reported previously on this blog:

Shalamar Major, 32, and Tanisha Wright, 27, both of Deerfield Beach, pled guilty on May 13 in connection with a tax refund scheme that used stolen social security and other personal identifying information to file on-line tax returns claiming fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS.

More specifically, Wright was convicted of three counts of identity theft, three counts of theft of public money, one count of access device fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of theft of mail, and one count of conspiracy to commit false claims. Major was convicted of one count of unauthorized HIPAA disclosures, in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 1320d-6, and one count of conspiracy to commit false claims.

Sentencing has been scheduled for July 22, 2013 at 8:45 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum in Ft. Lauderdale.

According to documents filed and statements made in court, from January through June 2012, Wright and Major possessed and used stolen personal identifying information of others to file federal income tax returns claiming tax refunds to which they were not entitled. Specifically, defendant Shalamar Major was employed as a scheduler at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital in Boca Raton, Florida. As a scheduler, she had access to personal identification information of Boca Raton Regional Hospital patients, including their names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and other sensitive personal information. In exchange for the promise of future payments, Shalamar Major unlawfully provided Tanisha Wright sensitive personal identifying information, including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, of numerous Boca Raton Regional Hospital patients. Tanisha Wright, upon receipt of the sensitive personal identifying information of the Boca Raton Regional Hospital patients, used this information to electronically file fraudulent federal income tax returns without the knowledge or authorization of the victims and claimed refunds to which she was not entitled from the IRS.

Tanisha Wright thereafter instructed the IRS to direct-deposit the refunds onto pre-paid reloadable debit cards that were already in her possession and had been previously stolen out of the U.S. mail. Once the debit cards had been funded by the Department of the Treasury, Tanisha Wright would convert the funds on the debit cards to cash by making withdrawals at local automated teller machines or would make personal purchases at various local businesses. Once Tanisha Wright obtained cash from the fraudulently funded debit cards, she would split the proceeds with Shalamar Major. In total, at least 57 fraudulent tax returns were filed with the IRS, requesting $306,720 in federal tax refunds.

SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida

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