The first of 11 people who have pleaded guilty to taking part in a million-dollar tax fraud was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Monday.
Santrece Willingham’s minor role in the conspiracy and her efforts to get a job and stay out of trouble since her arrest earlier this year helped convince the judge to impose a five-year probation sentence. She will have to make payments for $30,000 in restitution.
The ringleader in the scam was her mother, Angela Willingham, who involved family members and acquaintances by having them set up bank accounts to receive fraudulent income tax refund checks.
From January 2009 to this year’s indictment, the identities of patients at Georgia Regents Medical Center and the Gracewood State Hospital campus in Augusta were stolen. The personal identity information was used to prepare fraudulent income tax forms that claimed the people were entitled to refunds for taxes paid on Georgia lottery winnings.