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Public Safety

Georgia woman sentenced to 10 years for scheme to steal UI employees tax refunds

More than $450,000 tax refunds fraudulently obtained

The Old Capitol building is shown in Iowa City on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
The Old Capitol building is shown in Iowa City on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

DAVENPORT — A Georgia woman was sentenced this week to 10 years in prison for a scheme to steal more than $450,000 in tax refunds from University of Iowa employees.

Nadine Nzuega Robinson, 39, of Atlanta, Ga., previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Robinson was the owner of a check cashing business, Azalea, which she opened in 2013 with her companion in Doraville, Ga.

She used the business bank account to launder hundreds of money orders purchased with proceeds of fraudulently obtained tax refunds from the UI employees, according to court documents.

The plea agreement in early March 2015 showed authorities discovered false tax returns for 2014 were being electronically submitted to the Internal Revenue Service using names, addresses, occupations and Social Security numbers of numerous university employees located in the Southern District of Iowa.

During the investigation, authorities found the fraudsters committed the wire and mail fraud by using the stolen identities to apply for both state and federal income tax returns and provided debit card account numbers for the IRS to load returns on, according to the plea agreement.

More than $450,000 in tax refunds for UI employees was fraudulently obtained through the scheme and more than $5 million in fraudulently obtained funds passed through the Azalea account during March and April 2015, according to sentencing documents.

In June 2015, Robinson bought a residence in Atlanta with proceeds from the scheme.

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U.S. District Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger ordered Robinson to forfeit the residence and sentenced her to serve three years of supervised release after prison.

The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Serviceand prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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