Oklahoma Woman Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding IRS, SSA

Saturday, September 15, 2012
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A woman was sentenced Friday to four years in prison in what a government attorney said was the largest false tax return scheme prosecuted in federal court in Tulsa in at least two decades.

Shannon L. Porter, 27, also was ordered to pay $209,755.43 in restitution.

Porter pleaded guilty May 30 to only one criminal count related to a $3,661 refund for the 2009 tax year.

However, U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan found that at least 123 false returns were submitted, with 94 of them accepted by the IRS, prompting the agency to send $180,397 in refunds.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tulsa accused Porter of filing the false returns from February 2007 through January 2010 in the names of 14 people, at least some of whom gave their consent for their identities to be used.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles McLoughlin said this was the largest false tax return scheme prosecuted in Tulsa federal court since at least the early 1990s.

Porter stated in her plea agreement that she learned to file tax returns by "trial and error" using an online software application.

McLoughlin said Porter's conduct was discovered when Bank of Oklahoma officials found it suspicious that Porter deposited three refund checks, which prompted them to contact the IRS and the U.S. Secret Service.

He said the investigation is continuing and that charges against others are probable.

In addition to the $180,397 in restitution she owes the IRS, Porter must pay $29,358.43 to the Social Security Administration to reimburse the benefits she received by not disclosing the income she was receiving through the tax scheme.