Tax preparer sentenced in fraud, stolen ID scheme

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Phoenix tax preparer was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of multiple charges in a fraud scheme that authorities say netted more than $312,000.

Paula Anthony, 65, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced Tuesday for her role in a stolen identity and money laundering scheme.  

Anthony, formerly a registered tax return preparer, was found guilty following a trial on multiple counts, including conspiracy, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

[READ MORE: Tax preparer convicted in fraud scheme]

Anthony was reportedly a key participant in the scheme, in which the conspirators stole the identities of dozens of taxpayers and filed fabricated income tax returns to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax refunds in the victims' names.

Anthony and others obtained the fraudulent refunds through online accounts set up with prepaid debit cards and utilized multiple bank accounts to convert the refund money into cash.

Once Anthony obtained the cash, she, or people she recruited, laundered the money out of the United States by wiring most of the funds to Nigeria.   

The investigation, in this case, was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations.  The prosecution was handled by Monica Edelstein and William Voit, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
 

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