A former staff nurse, 41-year old Tangela Lawson-Brown from Midway, has been found guilty of wire fraud, stealing government funds, possession of unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft by a court in Tallahassee.
She employed as a nurse in a Tallahassee nursing centre between October 2011 and December 2012. During her time working at the nursing home, Lawson-Brown stole the personal data of 26 patients, although she was found to have a notebook containing the personal information of 150 people.
According to a press release published by the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, Lawson-Brown’s husband was detained in January 2013 and items were seized from Lawson-Brown’s vehicle by the Tallahassee Police Department, including the offending notebook.
The official police investigation showed that in 2011, Lawson-Brown used the stolen details to file fraudulent tax returns in the names of 105 people, including 24 patients of the nursing centre. Lawson-Brown filed claims totaling more than $1 million. The IRS found many of the claims were fraudulent, although $141,790 in tax refunds was paid out by the IRS.
The refunds were deposited in many bank accounts that Lawson-Brown and the funds were used to pay personal expenses, cover car repairs, and to pay off the mortgage for her house.
Lawson-Brown will be sentenced on January 4, 2018 in Florida. She faces a maximum jail term of 20 years for each count of wire fraud, 10 years for each count of theft of government funds and possession of unauthorized access devices, and another two years will be added to her final sentence for aggravated identity theft.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, Christopher P. Canova, commented, “This case illustrates the vulnerability of elderly and disabled persons. Relatives and other caregivers should be alert to unauthorized tax returns, bank accounts, credit cards, and financial transactions, and should immediately report identity theft crimes to law enforcement agencies.”