On Friday, it was announced that a former nurse from Midway, Florida had been convicted of wire fraud, theft of government funds, possession of unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft. 41-year-old Tangela Lawson-Brown was convicted after a three-day trial. From October 2011 to December 2012, Lawson-Brown worked at a Tallahassee nursing home.
In January of 2013, officers with the Tallahassee Police Department seized items from the defendant’s vehicle after her husband was arrested. Among the items, they discovered a notebook containing personally identifiable information belonging to more than 150 people, including 26 patients at the nursing home where the defendant was previously employed.
A follow-up investigation by the Internal Revenue Service revealed that fraudulent 2011 tax returns had been filed using the information of 105 people contained in the notebook. More than one million dollars in fraudulent claims were filed as a part of the scheme. The IRS was able to detect many of the fraudulent returns. However, total refunds of roughly $141,790 were ultimately disbursed.
Over the course of the trial, the government presented evidence showing that the proceeds were deposited into several bank accounts controlled by the defendant. It was also proven that Lawson-Brown used the money to pay her mortgage, vehicle repairs, and other personal expenses. Many of the victims were elderly patients in the defendant’s care.
In some cases, fraudulent returns were filed within a matter of days of the patients being admitted to the nursing home. Lawson-Brown is scheduled to be sentenced on January 4, 2018 at 1:30 PM.