A St. Croix woman is facing up to a decade behind bars after a jury found her guilty Tuesday of conspiracy to defraud the federal government, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
The jury returned its verdict against Patricia Henry, 52, after a five-day trial. On Wednesday, Chief Judge Wilma Lewis scheduled sentencing for March 18, and Henry is facing a possible 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert’s office.
“The prosecution of this fraud scheme is the result of years of investigative work by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, which identified and dismantled a massive stolen identity refund fraud scheme perpetrated in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere,” according to the news release. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alphonso Andrews Jr. and Melissa Ortiz.
Patricia Henry’s daughter, Phiona Henry, pleaded guilty under an agreement with prosecutors in May 2019 and is awaiting sentencing.
Phiona Henry and Patricia Henry were indicted in District Court on St. Croix in February 2017 on 11 counts of conspiracy to defraud, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft.
The Henrys are accused of using personal information from other people to obtain tax refunds, having those refunds direct deposited in accounts they controlled, and then withdrawing money from those accounts, according to court documents.
The charges stem from tax returns filed between 2010 and 2013 for tax years from 2009 to 2012, according to court documents. The Henrys filed false returns under their own names, and 10 other individuals identified only by their initials, according to the indictment. The pair claimed and withdrew $71,517 in illegal tax returns, and claimed but did not withdraw an additional $54,239, according to the indictment.
“As a result of the scheme, three tax returns were filed in the name of Patricia Henry. On those returns, a total of $29,295 was designated to Patricia Henry’s and Phiona Henry’s bank accounts. Evidence at trial indicated that $8,918 was deposited into Patricia Henry’s account and $10,068 was deposited into Phiona Henry’s account. An additional $106,382 was also deposited into Phiona’s bank account,” according to the news release from Shappert’s office.