Tania Henderson charged in $1.5 million I.D. theft bust

5:45 PM, Nov 28, 2012   |    comments
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Wesley Chapel, Florida -- A lakefront pool home, expensive cars, and high-end electronics: that's the life-style prosecutors say a Pasco County woman has been living on the back of taxpayers.

Feds descended on the home in Wesley Chapel less than 24 hours ago and they say they found evidence of an IRS tax fraud scheme.

It was all being run, they say, from inside a house on Loch Aline Drive. The home sits in an unassuming, quiet suburban neighborhood. On Wednesday there was still a Jaguar in the driveway and a BMW the garage.

A man who drove up while we were there declined to comment.

Agents arrested 27-year-old Tania Henderson, calling her the ring-leader in an I.D. theft scheme that tried to cheat Uncle Sam out of $1.5 million.

Neighbor Randy Willis says he and his wife had always suspected something was going on.

"They never spoke," said Willis.

But they always saw lots of people coming and going at all hours of the day, and always driving expensive cars.

"Truth is, my wife has even mentioned that as a possibility with all those cars, and they always seemed to be home," said Willis.

Inside the garage there are still stacks of shoes and other unopened boxes of merchandise.

Bobby Lavertue, who was delivering a pizza to the home, says he's been there several times before. Lavertue says there's plenty of high-end property in addition to those cars inside the house.

"There's TV boxes in there. Brand new TV's. I've seen the inside of their house a little bit and from what I could see, it's very nice. High quality," he said.

Living the high life, say prosecutors, on your dime. Inside the house, agents say the found $5,000 cash, debit cards and several I.D.'s. In all, they say nearly 200 bogus tax returns were filed using a computer they seized from the home.

They say Henderson used names belonging to people both alive and dead.

Henderson allegedly did not work alone, and more arrests are expected. She is being held on $10,000 bond at the Pinellas County Jail.

The charges in the case originated in Missouri, which is where prosecutors say Henderson used to live. They say more than a dozen of the checks were mailed there. A handful also went to Maryland, and more than two dozen were mailed to Florida.

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