TAMPA — A woman who pleaded guilty to filing fraudulent tax returns has been sentenced to more than five years in prison. Belinda Brooks, 47, of Tampa, was sentenced to 42 months for theft of government property. U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven gave Brooks an additional 24 months for aggravated identity theft.
The court also ordered Brooks to repay $118,882.63, the proceeds of her criminal activity, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill.
Brooks stole the names and social security numbers of other people in order to file fraudulent tax returns in their names and get tax refunds for 2008 and 2009, O'Neill says in the statement. She also filed her own false tax return.
She pleaded guilty on May 25, in a case that was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Amanda L. Riedel and Sara C. Sweeney.
The prosecution was part of an ongoing effort by several law enforcement groups to fight tax fraud in the Tampa Bay region.