Clementon woman gets long prison term for tax-refund fraud

CAMDEN – A Clementon woman has received a prison term of more than 15 years for her role in a tax-refund fraud that targeted the U.S. Treasury.

Awilda Henriquez, 36, also was ordered to pay restitution of about $565,000, the estimated value of the government's loss due to the fraud, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey.

Authorities alleged Henriquez was part of a ring that filed phony tax returns using ID information stolen from residents of Puerto Rico.

The ring filed more than 3,300 phony tax returns for 2013, with refunds being mailed to addresses in Pennsauken, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

Ring members bribed postal workers to intercept the refund checks, which were cashed by couriers using fraudulent IDs.

As part of the scheme, Henriquez paid tellers at check-cashing businesses to participate in the fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Henriquez was convicted of conspiring to defraud the federal government and steal U.S. mail after a 10-day trial in December 2021. She also was found guilty of 13 counts each of aggravated identity theft and theft of government money.

U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler imposed the 159-month prison term on Monday in Camden federal court. He also sentenced Henrique to three years of supervised release.

Jim Walsh is a senior reporter with the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal

This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: Tax-refund scheme used stolen IDs to defraud Treasury of $565K