Last members of million-dollar tax fraud conspiracy sentenced to prison

The last members of a million-dollar tax fraud scheme were sentenced to prison Wednesday.


Angela Willingham, 41, who was described as the ringleader, was sentenced to 142 months in prison, and her nephew James Butler, 22, received 60 months in prison.

Willingham has the largest restitution to make for the conspiracy: more than $1.29 million.

Willingham, Butler and 10 others were found guilty of conspiring to defraud the IRS by filing fraudulent income tax returns in the names of 90 people. The bogus documents claimed each person had lottery winnings with overpayment of
taxes, which entitled each to a tax refund.

The names and personal information were stolen from patients at Georgia Regents Medical Center and East Central Regional Hospital’s Gracewood campus.

Willingham’s sisters, Janice Smal­ley, 48, and Patrice Roberson, 37, used their positions at the facilities to steal the information.

The scheme unraveled because a bank employee noticed that income tax refunds in different people’s names were being deposited
into the account of a person who turned out to be a member of the conspiracy.

Smalley was sentenced to 44 months in prison, and Roberson was sentenced to 61 months in prison.

One of Willingham’s daughters, Santana Willingham, 23, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Another daughter, Santrece Wil­ling­ham, 22, was sentenced to five years of probation.

Brittney Wright, 26, was sentenced to 42 months in prison. Dentavia McNair, 24, was sentenced to 108 months in prison; Cheryl Wil­ling­ham, 38, was sentenced to five years of probation; Kelly Barton, 36, was sentenced to 15 months in prison; LaSandra Whitfield, 43, was sentenced to 36 months in prison; and Matthew Harrington, 46, was sentenced to five years of probation.

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