TAMPA, FL—United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that Tanya Cullens today pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, wire fraud, theft of government funds, and one count of aggravated identity theft. She faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for the tax fraud conspiracy and a consecutive two-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for the aggravated identity theft charge.
According to the plea agreement, in 2012, Cullens was a member of the cleaning staff at University Community Hospital. On January 17, 2012, Cullens stole a patient list from the hospital. The list contained the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of 48 patients who had been treated at University Community Hospital.
Shortly after stealing the patient list from the hospital, Cullens provided the list to her friend and co-conspirator, who used the list to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS. None of the individuals whose personal information appeared on the fraudulently filed tax returns knew that the conspirators were filing the returns on their behalf. In total, 10 fraudulent tax returns were filed by the conspirators, totaling approximately $79,204 in bogus tax refunds. Ultimately, the IRS paid out $44,080 in refunds to the conspirators.