Wilmington Women Plead Guilty to State Tax Violations

Date: 6/26/2003

RALEIGH – The final three of six Wilmington women charged by the North Carolina Department of Revenue with obtaining property by false pretenses were sentenced on Thursday in Wake County District Court.

Verndella Blandshaw, 32, of 606 North 30th Street, Tiombe Assata Burton, 24, of 27 Taylor Homes, Apt. G and Erica Monique Wagner, 33 of 6308 Murrayville Road, each entered guilty pleas to felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. The state's evidence showed that Blandshaw, Burton and Wagner knowingly filed fraudulent North Carolina income tax returns using fictitious wage and tax statements. The wage and tax statements used to prepare the returns showed they were employed by local businesses and had North Carolina income taxes withheld from their wages. Based on this fraudulent information, the Department of Revenue issued income tax refunds of $1,624 to Blandshaw, $594 to Burton, and $446 to Wagner.

District Court Judge Robert B. Rader sentenced Blandshaw to a five-month minimum, six-month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended and Blandshaw was placed on supervised probation for 24 months. In addition, Blandshaw must pay a criminal fine of $200 and restitution of $1,624 to the Department of Revenue. She was also ordered to timely and lawfully file all state tax returns during her probation.

Rader sentenced Burton to a six-month minimum, eight-month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended and Burton was placed on supervised probation for 18 months. Burton also must pay a criminal fine of $150 and restitution of $594 to the Department of Revenue.

Wagner was sentenced to a five-month minimum, six-month maximum prison term. Her sentence was also suspended and she was placed on supervised probation for 24 months. She must pay a $200 criminal fine and $446 in restitution to the Department of Revenue. Rader also ordered that Wagner file all future returns with the Department of Revenue in a timely and lawful manner.

The charges against these individuals resulted from an investigation by a special agent with the Department of Revenue's Criminal Investigations Division. The investigation into the filing of fraudulent North Carolina income tax returns using fictitious W-2 forms continues in the Wilmington area and additional arrests are possible.

 

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