Former FMCSA employee pleads guilty in tax fraud case

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 3/3/2014

A former employee of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has pleaded guilty for her role in a scheme to illegally obtain income tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Sheila Anderson-Cloude pleaded guilty Feb. 25 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to conspiracy to obtain fraudulent tax refunds. Anderson-Cloude worked as a financial management specialist with FMCSA.

Investigators with FMCSA found evidence that Anderson-Cloude prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns while at work using her office computer, sometimes using personal information of individuals without their knowledge.

Between Feb. 8 and Feb. 20, 2012, the release states, Anderson-Cloude filed and had others file false federal income tax returns to illegally obtain tax refunds she wasn’t entitled to.

“In total, she misappropriated over $574, 000,” the release states.

Anderson-Cloude worked with Tonia Patrice Lawson, a Maryland resident who was unemployed at the time, to recruit individuals who didn’t meet earnings requirements to file income tax returns. The pair told recruits they could obtain large tax refunds. Lawson would recruit individuals for the scheme and collect their personal information before forwarding the details to Anderson-Cloude. Anderson-Cloude then added fake income and withholding amounts to file the returns.

Lawson pleaded guilty for her role in the scheme in 2013.

The investigation was handled by the U.S. DOT Office of Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Department. Click here to read previous Land Line coverage of this story.

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