Florida woman uses identities of dead people to collect $1.5 million in fraudulent refunds

We continue our coverage of the IRS’ Top Ten Identity Theft Prosecutions of 2015 with a Florida case that resulted in a hefty jail sentence.


Tiffani Pye Williams, age 35 at time of sentencing


Tampa, Florida

What she did

Williams committed identity theft, filed phony tax returns, and collected roughly $1.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

How she did it

Williams, using a variety of aliases, was part of a tax fraud scheme that spanned from 2010 to 2014. She and her cohorts stole personal identification information from 991 people – many of whom were deceased. They filed more than 1,000 false tax returns, claiming over $5.3 million in refunds. They succeeded in collecting $1.5 million in tax refunds, which were wired from the IRS and directed to reloadable debit cards. The debit cards were used at retail stores and cash was withdrawn from them at ATMs.
Williams was apprehended in 2014 following a cooperative investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the Tampa Police Department.

The charges

Williams was charged with:

She pleaded guilty on April 23, 2015 and was sentenced on September 29, 2015.

The sentence

Williams was sentenced to 10 years and 3 months in prison, and ordered to pay $1,533,283 in restitution. Her sentence was reduced to 6 years and 9 months for assisting with the investigation of her former roommate and co-conspirator, Bobby Muhammad.

Harsh penalties for ID theft crimes

ID theft crimes carry significant penalties, including extensive jail time and fines. If you are under investigation, you need the assistance of a highly experienced criminal tax attorney. Contact with law firm of Moskowitz LLP for assistance.