The self-described “queen” and "first lady" of tax refund fraud, who is serving 21 years in federal prison for using stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns and steal millions from federal taxpayers, was in court today hoping to have her sentence reduced, but the judge didn't see it for her.
A federal judge this morning rejected a defense argument that Rashia Wilson, the self described “queen of tax fraud,” had mended her ways; that she is a changed woman after serving nearly two years behind bars, and sentenced her — again — to 21 years in prison. Wilson was back before U.S. District Judge James Moody because his original sentence was overturned by an appellate court. But the judge didn’t waver, as the 21-year term still was in the recommended sentencing guidelines, though near the maximum allowed. Wilson made headlines in December 2012 when she was indicted on charges accusing her of stealing identities to file fraudulent tax returns and stealing millions of dollars from federal taxpayers. She had posted photos of herself on her Facebook page proclaiming herself as the “queen” and “first lady” of tax fraud. She waved wads of money around, wore gaudy, expensive jewelry and taunted law enforcement. That was just a glimpse into her world of fraud and extravagant spending, prosecutors said. She used part of the millions she stole to throw a $30,000 birthday party for her 1-year-old daughter. She also paid cash for a $90,000 car, telling the salesperson she didn’t care what kind of car she bought, as long as it was the most expensive one on the lot. The entire time she was using stolen identities to steal more than $3 million, she was collecting public assistance. She told the court this morning that she had changed after her conviction and sentence in July 2013. “I’m not going to sit here and say what I did was right,” she said. “I didn’t know no better ... I’m asking for a reasonable sentence. I deserve a second chance.” She said she was raised amid poverty, drug use, mental illness and crime and that she was on her own at 12 years old. “I’m not going to tell my whole sad story,” she said. “I’m a changed woman. I’ve changed. I’m not that person no more.” She earned her GED and has a clean record while in prison. “The first time she lived in a life of structure is during her incarceration,” said defense attorney Andrew Greenlee. “And she has thrived.” He asked the court to reduce the sentence this time around. “She is a mother,” he said, “and she wants to play a role in the lives of her children.” The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Moody incorrectly applied federal sentencing guidelines when he calculated Wilson’s sentence in 2013 and ordered Wilson be resentenced. The appeals court said Moody should not have used a weapons conviction she was sentenced for to enhance Wilson’s criminal history in determining her sentence for the fraud conviction because the sentences were imposed at the same time. The weapons offense related to a gun seized from her home when it was being searched in connection with the fraud case. While investigators later determined Wilson stole between $7 million and $20 million from federal taxpayers, because of the terms of her plea agreement, Moody sentenced her based on an earlier calculation that she had stolen $3.1 million. Prosecutors today asked the judge to impose the same sentence he previously handed down. “Nothing has changed,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney. “None of the circumstances or characteristics have changed at all.” She said Wilson’s tax fraud and public display with the stolen money encouraged others to do the same, resulting in an epidemic of identity theft and tax fraud cases that escalated a few years ago. “She glorified this in public,” Sweeney said, “and encouraged others to commit these type of crimes.”This judge is stern and we like it. Granted, everyone needs a second chance and the opportunity to show they have changed, but Rashia, who was a convicted felon and was arrested at least 17 times prior to 2012, needs to be punished for her flagrant action and 21 years seem about just. Girl, bye!
source: Tampa Bay Tribune