She proclaimed herself the First Lady of tax refund fraud. Investigators say Rashia Wilson helped cheat taxpayers out of millions of dollars. But she is just one of a countless number of women in trouble for the crime.
"The males tell them what to do, how to file, where to file," said Hillsborough Sheriff's Corporal Bruce Crumpler.
Crumpler says most of the time his task force's refund fraud investigations lead straight to women first, not men. Almost every mug shot on Crumpler's board is female. He says they're the ones out front, taking big risks for boyfriends, exes, and spouses.
"They kind of use them as the go-between, or the conduit, between the banks and them," explained Crumpler. "Sometimes, the IP addresses at their residents are used to file the fraudulent returns."
Forensic psychologist Dr. Valerie McClain sees it frequently.
"The reward or the re-enforcer for them is that they're going to be taken care of and reassured that nothing bad is going to happen, and that instead they'll have more money," McClain said.
The women are often promised only a few hundred dollars out of thousands ripped off. Many times they are mothers, enticed by just enough money to cover a bill or two.
"Typically, what you're going to see is a woman who is more dependent, a woman who has more vulnerability and has some insecurities about her own abilities for self-care, both financially and also personally," said McClain.
Corporal Crumpler says it can be difficult to get female suspects to tell what they know after they're arrested, but those who do have a lot at stake.
"Many of these women have children and loved ones and family members and for them to be locked away for two, three, four years in federal prison or up to 10 years in state prison is something they think long and hard about," said Crumpler.
The Sheriff's Office says they've also arrested many women who stole personal information from the health care facilities where they worked.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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