Rashia Wilson called herself the First Lady and claimed to be an income tax fraud pioneer, schooling others on how to commit fraud.
She bragged on Facebook about taking expensive trips and having so much money she forgot about a purse full of cash in her closet, investigators say.
Details of the Wilson investigation are contained in recently unsealed IRS affidavits and other documents filed in connection with searches of Wilson's Wimauma home, her computers and Facebook accounts.
They provide a glimpse of how criminals have used identity theft and gaps in IRS security measures to file bogus tax returns and collect billions of dollars in fraudulent refunds. The national scandal centered in Tampa has been the focus of congressional hearings, watchdog reports and beefed-up enforcement efforts. The scam is entering its third tax season.
Wilson may not have been the biggest player in Tampa's income tax fraud explosion, but she was one of the most brazen -- "flashy," a sheriff's investigator called her, "in your face about it."
The affidavits show Wilson even had a picture of herself with a cool smile on her face, wearing an oversized jewel-encrusted pendant spelling out her first name as she held bundles of cash.
"YES I'M RASHIA THE QUEEN OF IRS TAX FRAUD," reads a May posting on her Facebook page described in the affidavits. "IM' A MILLIONAIRE FOR THE RECORD SO IF U THINK INDICTING ME WILL BE EASY IT WONT I PROMISE U!"
Five months later, a federal grand jury indicted Wilson on a weapons offense. Two months after that, she was indicted on 57 federal charges related to tax fraud.
Authorities say Wilson and her boyfriend filed more than 220 fraudulent tax returns claiming $1.9 million in refunds between 2009 and 2012. Most of the refunds were approved by the IRS, which sent out nearly $1.3 million, according to court documents.
The returns made use of tax credits that authorities say are known to be vulnerable to fraud. The returns listed Dallas addresses, and in most instances, the occupation of the purported filer was listed as "sales" or "cook."
Scores of the returns were filed from local hotels, and some were filed from Wilson's home, according to the court documents.
A visitor to her spacious house reported seeing bags of cash. She drove a new Audi, purchased with a $90,000 cashier's check. She wore diamond jewelry and designer shoes.
At the same time, she collected $668 a month in food assistance from the state.
In applying for the benefit, she claimed she earned $200 a month working as a hairstylist.
She reported no employment income in her own name to the IRS.
In court pleadings, Wilson contended her Facebook account was hacked and that she didn't post the "queen of tax fraud" boast. But the prosecution responded that the evidence cited by Wilson -- an email from Facebook about her password being changed -- implicated her further.
The Facebook notification gave the Internet address where the password was changed, and that address, according to the prosecution, was assigned to Wilson's home.
The defense also said in the court pleading that Wilson's "First Lady" name refers to her entertainment business, 1st Lady Entertainment. The picture of her holding cash relates to her business, according to the defense pleading. The prosecution responded that the business never filed a tax return and didn't appear to generate any significant income.
Wilson has pleaded guilty to the federal weapons offense, related to a gun seized from her home, and is waiting to be sentenced. She has pleaded not guilty to the tax fraud charges, along with her boyfriend, Maurice Larry. They are scheduled to stand trial next month.
Wilson was viewed as a big player early on when law enforcement started looking seriously at the identity theft tax-refund fraud wave that seemed to flood the streets of Tampa and flow to other areas more than two years ago.
But Hillsborough Sheriff's Cpl. Bruce Crumpler said investigators are now targeting others who committed just as much fraud, if not more.