Latricia Williams, Shelton Tanner sentenced in identity theft and tax credit fraud scheme

PHOENIX - Buckeye resident Latricia Williams was sentenced to three years in prison Friday after pleading guilty in March 2012 as one of three individuals involved in an identity theft and tax credit scam.

An indictment alleged that Williams, her sister Gezelle Helena Amaechi and husband Shelton DeWayne Tanner received fraudulent tax refunds by stealing identities from Center 4 Health Enlightenment Enrichment Empowerment Renewal Services (CHEEERS) clients.

Amaechi was an employee at CHEEERS and had access to client names, social security numbers and birth dates.

Under client names, the trio allegedly claimed false tax credits under the First Time Home Buyer Credit program.

Williams admitted that they filed 180 tax returns under stolen identities, claiming over $1 million in tax refunds, concealing the fraud by using unsecured wireless networks and using prepaid debit cards, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Williams' sentencing was scheduled to take place in late June, but was completed Friday

A court document states that Williams' sentence was recommended to be 36 months due to her less-extensive criminal history.

Tanner was sentenced in February 2012, receiving five years in prison for the offense.

Amaechi's sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 5, 2012.

According to an IRS news release, conspiracy convictions carry a maximum five year imprisonment penalty and maximum $250,000 fine.

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