Woman sentenced for tax fraud scheme

Pasco County woman pleaded guilty to conspiring with prisoner

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 40-year-old Pasco County was sentenced in a Jacksonville federal courtroom Monday to three years and one month in prison for conspiracy to commit tax fraud.

Jacqueline Ferreira pleaded guilty to the charge in June.

According to a plea agreement, beginning in January 2007 and continuing through June 2009, Ferreira conspired with an inmate at the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford and others to defraud the United States by submitting false tax returns with the goal of securing tax refunds to which they were not entitled to.

As part of the conspiracy, Ferreira opened and utilized at least 10 bank accounts in the Tampa Bay area, prosecutors said. These accounts were used to receive electronic deposits of federal income tax refunds from the false income tax returns that the prisoner and others prepared and filed, prosecutors said.

Ferreira shared a prearranged percentage of the tax scheme proceeds with the prisoner and the other conspirators, prosecutors said. They said that the arrangement usually took the form of a 50-50 split, with Ferreira keeping 50 percent of the proceeds and turning over the other 50 percent to the other conspirators.

Prosecutors said that with the illegal proceeds, which she accessed through various cash withdrawals from her multiple bank accounts, Ferreira purchased vehicles, furniture and other items. More than 350 false tax returns were filed requesting the electronic deposit of a tax refund into bank accounts maintained by Ferreira, prosecutors said.

However, not all of the fraudulent tax returns were successful in generating a tax refund from the IRS. Through this scheme, $443,711.92 in tax refunds were deposited into Ferreira's bank accounts, prosecutors said.

The conspirators filed fraudulent returns seeking deposits into Ferreira's accounts in excess of $3 million, prosecutors said.

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