After stealing more than $1 million in an elaborate tax scheme, a 26-year-old Memphis woman was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to more than nine years in prison.
Between Feb. 2010 and July 2011, Tamaracina Birdse filed false tax returns using Social Security numbers of more than 250 victims, including some high school students, according to U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton's office. Stanton's office says an investigation revealed that Birdse obtained victims' stolen information from associates of hers.
People under the instruction of Birdse would then deposit the money into fraudulent bank accounts until she instructed them to withdraw the money.
"There is no question that pure greed and just criminal activity was the rationale behind this conduct, but ultimately brought to justice and held accountable," U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton.
Birdse spoke before the sentencing, saying there are no excuses for her actions, and she wanted to give her son and daughter everything they wanted. "I'm glad I got caught when I did," she read from her prepared speech, adding later, "I want the chance to prove that I can be an upstanding citizen."
Along with the tax fraud, Birdse obtained six separate Tennessee Driver's License using her missing sister's name between Nov. 2007 and Dec. 2009. With this, she applied for Social Security Survivorship benefits in her sister's name, depositing approximately $17,000 of back SSI Survivorship payments into her bank account, according to Stanton's office.