A stint in state prison apparently did not teach Shannon Henderson that committing federal tax-refund fraud is a bad idea.
Maybe a stay in a federal lock-up will do the trick.
The 45-year-old Tacoma woman pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for filing more than 150 false federal tax returns while incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center for Women near Purdy.
She was serving a yearlong sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree theft for cashing two fraudulent tax refund checks in Pierce County, court records show.
Federal prosecutors said she used the prison’s pen-pal program to correspond with inmates across the nation who gave her names and other information she then used to file for false tax refunds.
Henderson also worked with a co-conspirator who sold her names and personal information for employees working at a janitorial company, the records show.
“Henderson had the fraudulently claimed refunds loaded onto prepaid debit cards and used the addresses of friends and relatives for her fraud scheme,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said in a news release.
Henderson received $56,000 in refunds before the government caught on, court records show.
She’s to be sentenced May 29 and faces 20 years, though her sentence is likely to be less time under federal sentencing guidelines.