Woman indicted in Cincinnati-area tax refund scam

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - A Kansas City, Missouri woman has been charged in Cincinnati with scheming to file false claims for federal income tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as well as wire fraud.

Donita Shields, 37, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 13 counts of filing false claims for federal income tax refunds with the IRS and one count of wire fraud. According to the indictment, Shields lives in Kansas City but had family and friends in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and frequently traveled to and from Cincinnati.

Between 2009 and 2010, Shields allegedly arranged a scheme to defraud the IRS by creating fake W2 forms for other people. She's accused of asking individuals to pose as employees for the purpose of filing false income tax returns and claiming fraudulent income tax refunds.

Shields allegedly created the W2 forms for the fake employees by using the names of entities associated with Shields and her family as the employers, two of which were known as 'All Funding Mortgage' and 'Shields Property Management'.

According to the indictment, Shields helped the individual file an income tax return through a tax preparation company. The IRS would issue an income tax refund, which Shields would split with that person.

Investigators believe she prepared and electronically filed these income tax returns for Cincinnati residents from her home in Kansas City.

At least two of the income tax returns caused income tax refunds to be wired to debit cards located in Cincinnati, Ohio. When the IRS stopped one of the income tax refunds from being issued, Shields allegedly called the IRS pretending to be the taxpayer in an effort to get the income tax refund released.  Shields later faxed fictitious documents to the IRS "verifying" the wage information reflected on the fake W2.

In total, this tax scheme involved 95 false income tax returns which claimed approximately $605,405 in fraudulent income tax refunds.

Shields appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie K. Bowman on Tuesday, who released her on bond.

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