(WMC-TV) - Most people will agree that it is no fun paying taxes. But scamming the IRS is hazardous to your freedom.
Two Memphis women will spend a total of 23 years in federal prison for doing just that.
Federal prosecutors say Rhonda Mayweather and Nakita Brooks tried to scam the government out of $2,106,627.
Part of the scheme involved shipments of 23 fake cashier's checks, 100 fake money orders, and 85 fake travelers checks through FedEx from Nigeria to Memphis.
But the majority of the damage came online.
Prosecutors say the women stole names and social security numbers from people both alive and dead.
They used that personal information to create false W-2s, prepare false 1040s, and file bogus tax returns through TurboTax, TaxSlayer, and other Internet tax preparation software. All of the refunded money funneled directly to their accounts.
Before their scheme was uncovered, the pair had received a total of $550,475. They were indicted in October 2010.
With this case finally wrapped up, U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton made the following promise in a news release:
"...An unwavering commitment to protecting the interests of law-abiding taxpayers. We will continue to partner with the IRS and bring justice to the criminals who engage in such brazen and fraudulent conduct."
Rhonda Mayweather was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Her accomplice, Nakita Brooks, was sentenced in December to nine years.