SAN FRANCISCO -- A Pittsburg woman who committed tax fraud by conspiring with others to file false claims has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, a U.S. Attorney announced Thursday.

Taneshia Stephenson received her sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to the crime on Oct. 3, 2012, said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said in a statement.

In her plea, Stephenson admitted that beginning in 2008 she helped other individuals gain fraudulent tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service by filing returns that used stolen identities.

Stephenson and the other conspirators asked the IRS to deposit the refunds into a bank account that Stephenson could access. The refunds were obtained because the Social Security income and withholdings listed in the returns were phony, Haag said.

Stephenson gave another individual access to that account in 2008, Haag said. More than 20 other individuals were involved in the conspiracy, Haag said.

Rick Hurd covers crime. Contact him in Antioch at 925-779-7166 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.



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