St. Louis halfway house resident helped tax scam, IRS says

Jan. 14--ST. LOUIS -- A man confined to a St. Louis halfway house on a federal crack cocaine charge helped a Florida woman cash out the proceeds from her $1.4 million tax scam, officials said Monday.

Federal prosecutors on Monday charged Jason Bibbs, 27, with conspiracy to commit false claims.

In the affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent Daniel Cobb said that Bibbs reaped $2,000 from a bogus refund of $8,556 generated by the alleged ringleader of the scam, Tania Nichole Henderson. Henderson filed the return and the prepaid debit card with the refund was sent to Bibbs' mother's home, he wrote. Bibbs then used the card at a St. Louis Wal-Mart in November to but money orders to send the rest of the money to Henderson, he wrote.

Henderson also had a $7,500 refund check sent to Bibbs' mother's house, but federal agents intercepted it.

The first tax return was filed in the name of a dead person; the second in the name of a St. Louis-area nursing home without his knowledge, Cobb wrote.

Bibbs said he is a close friend of Henderson, who is formerly of St. Louis, and admitted getting the debit card and depositing money from it in his bank account, Cobb wrote.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan predicted more would be charged in the case, saying it was still an ongoing investigation "as we track down everything Henderson. . . was involved in."

Bibbs could not be reached for comment. He was sentenced in 2010 to five years in prison and ordered to undergo drug treatment while there.

Henderson, 27, was arrested in November and accused of filing more than 200 bogus tax returns that triggered $1.4 million in unearned refunds. Many of the returns using the names of the recently deceased, prosecutors have said.

She was indicted last month in U.S. District Court here for theft of public money. She has pleaded not guilty. Her lawyer, Jason Korner, said, "Ms. Henderson is maintaining her innocence at this time. We're confident that once all the evidence comes out. . . justice will be done."

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