Paula Anthony, age 65, of Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced to 36 months in prison for her role in a stolen identity and money laundering scheme.
Anthony, formerly a registered tax return preparer, was found guilty following trial on multiple counts, including conspiracy, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Anthony was 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.