Women Gets 21 Years in Prison for Flossing with Government Money

| July 18, 2013 | 0 Comments

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Reporting by Patty Ryan

TAMPA — She taunted authorities to catch her as she stole millions from the IRS. They did.

Rashia Wilson must now spend 21 years in prison, apart from her three children, ages 2 to 12. After watching their mother get sentenced Tuesday, they wailed when the rules of federal marshals precluded a goodbye hug.

The self-proclaimed “first lady” of tax refund fraud, who admitted stealing more than $3 million and is suspected of taking as much as $20 million, dropped her head to a table and sobbed upon learning the punishment.

“She knew what she was doing was wrong,” U.S. District Judge James. S. Moody Jr. concluded. “She reveled in the fact that it was wrong.”

Wilson, 27, pleaded guilty earlier this year to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, both crimes stemming from tax fraud. In a separate case, she pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Moody sentenced her Tuesday for all three offenses.

Her attorney, Mark J. O’Brien, asked Moody not to be swayed by public pressure. In a sentencing memorandum he quoted the late Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger: “Judges rule on the basis of law, not public opinion, and they should be totally indifferent to pressures of the times.”

It was a reference to grandiose claims by Wilson on her Facebook page that she was untouchable by the Tampa Police Department, the agency that sounded an alarm about such crimes nationally. (IRS-Criminal Investigations, the Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Hills­borough County Sheriff’s Office joined TPD in the investigation.)

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mandy Riedel, who prosecuted the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney, read excerpts of Wilson’s Facebook posting in court.

“I’m Rashia, the queen of IRS tax fraud,” the post stated, all in capital letters, with a little less punctuation than this:

“I’m a millionaire for the record, so if U think indicting me will B easy it won’t, I promise you! U need more than black and white to hold me down N that’s to da rat who went N told, as if 1st lady don’t have da TPD under her spell. I run Tampa right now.”

She predicted she would not serve time.

Where some might see audacity, psychologist Valerie McClain sees illness.

McClain testified for the defense Tuesday that Wilson suffers from bipolar disorder first diagnosed at age 14, and that the “adolescent bragging” in Facebook posts is consistent with manic-phase behavior.

Hmm, she sounds like a lot of people we know of. But seriously, was 21 years a fair sentence when many white collar criminals have gotten off with a slap on the wrist.

Source: Sandra Rose

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