Casa Grande woman sentenced for tax fraud

Shaneika Earline Sims, 30, of Casa Grande, Ariz. was sentenced on April 19, to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $403,002 in restitution. After her release from prison, Sims will serve a 36 month term of supervised release. Sims pleaded guilty on Nov. 7, 2012, to conspiracy to defraud the government through false claims.

Sims admitted that from March 13, 2010, and continuing through Jan. 28, 2012, she and others conspired to defraud the United States government by filing false and fictitious tax returns which wrongly claimed refunds. At least 150 false federal individual income tax returns were filed claiming $548,653 in unjustified refunds. Sims and others prepared the false federal income tax returns. A codefendant offered to pay various sums of money to people whose identities were used. Some of the identities used were passed to her by an incarcerated co-defendant, including names, social security numbers and dates of birth. Some of the individuals in whose names false claims for refunds were filed were, in fact, inmates in state and local detention facilities. Sims and others electronically submitted the false income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service through the internet.

Sims also filed false and fraudulent individual income tax returns in California. At least 86 additional returns seeking $315,264 were linked to Sims through common Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and bank accounts.

On Jan. 16, 2013, co-defendant Corleen Ladawn Thompson, 36, of Casa Grande, Ariz., was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and a 36 month term of supervised release. Thompson’s daughter, co-defendant Desheray Gulley, was sentenced on April 4, 2013 to a 60 month term of supervised probation.

The investigation in this case was conducted by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Pinal County Attorney’s Office, and the Casa Grande Police Department.

“Those who threaten the integrity of our federal income tax system through fraudulent schemes pose a real danger to the financial security of our country,” said U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo. “For this reason, the United States Attorney’s Office has been and continues to be dedicated to prosecutions like this one that serve to hold these offenders accountable and to deter similar crimes by others.”

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