Clementon, NJ woman sentenced in identity theft tax refund scheme
A Camden County woman has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for a tax refund scheme that involved unscrupulous postal workers and check-cashing tellers.
Awilda Henriquez, 36, of Clementon, was convicted in December 2021 on 13 counts of theft of government money, 13 counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the Unites States government and steal U.S. mail.
The case dates back to the 2013 tax year, when more than 3,300 "Stolen Identity Refund Fraud" tax returns were filed using the names and personal information of residents of Puerto Rico, officials said. The refunds were directed to be mailed to a small section of Pennsauken.
According to officials, Henriquez and her conspirators recruited mail carriers to steal the checks from the mail. They were paid for every check that was snagged, officials said.
Henriquez and her conspirators also recruited and paid "check couriers" to cash the tax refund checks in a variety of ways, including at check cashing businesses in the Garden State, where tellers were paid to participate in the scheme.
In addition to the 159-month prison sentence handed down on Monday, Henriquez was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $565,091, which was the amount of losses incurred by the U.S. Treasury during the scheme.