Hampton woman sentenced to 9 years for ID theft

Photo courtesy: Western Tidewater Regional Jail

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton woman was sentenced today to nine years in prison for a tax refund fraud and identity theft scheme.

Tonya Nicole Matthews, also known as Tonya Nicole Williams, 44, filed 172 fraudulent federal income tax returns in the names of 75 stolen identities for over $450,000 in the course of four years, according to court documents.

Matthews created three fake businesses to file the individual income tax returns. She incorporated the businesses in Virginia, registered them with the IRS, and filed false wage and withholding documents.

In her fraudulent tax documents, she claimed the businesses had paid millions of dollars in wages to the identity theft victims and withheld over $500,000 in taxes from those wages.

Matthews filed all of the false returns electronically from her residence in Hampton, using accounts she had created in her victims’ names. She directed the IRS to deposit the claimed refunds into prepaid debit card accounts that she had opened in the victims’ names.

Matthews had a previous conviction for tax refund fraud and identity theft, and was serving a term of federal supervised release when she undertook the most recent scheme.