For those who do not actively participate in social media, here’s what you need to know: websites exist that allow individuals to post comments about their lifestyle via pictures and messages, while following the postings of other users. From time to time, some users take their postings to the extreme and post inappropriate content. It’s as if there is no limit to what people will discuss via social media – even when it comes to fraud. According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, one woman’s social media comments took her from the top of the fraud list to 21 years behind bars.
You might think that a fraudster would use extreme caution to avoid getting caught; however, one Florida mother found pride in boasting about her crime online. (She can wear her orange jumpsuit with pride.) She stood before a courtroom and her children as the judge sentenced her to 21 years in prison for her admitted theft in defrauding the federal government of $3 million through tax refund fraud. The U.S. District Judge commented: “She knew what she was doing was wrong. She reveled in the fact that it was wrong.” Is bliss ignorance? Could it be the money provided her enough happiness to blind her from the potential consequences of getting caught?
The fraudster claimed she was “untouchable” by the Tampa Police Department (TPD) and stated online via social media: “I’m a millionaire for the record, so if U think indictiToday’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, “Tampa ‘First Lady’ of Tax Fraud Gets 21 Years in Prison,” written by Patty Ryan and published by the Tampa Bay Times on July 16, 2013. TAMPA — She taunted authorities to catch her as she stole millions from the federal government. They did. Rashia Wilson must now spend 21 years in prison, apart from her three children, ages 2 to 12. After watching their mother get sentenced Tuesday, they wailed when the rules of federal marshals precluded a goodbye hug. ng me will B easy it won’t, I promise U…as if 1st lady don’t have da TPD under her spell.” (Need I comment?) The fraudster predicted she would never serve time, continuing to taunt police via social media by referring to herself as “first lady of fraud” and bragging about the money she spent on cars and parties. (Court documents reveal she spent $30,000 on her son’s first birthday party. I guess keeping a low profile wasn’t a goal.)
She is the recipient of Florida’s harshest penalty for tax refund fraud and (mostly) related offenses: she’ll serve 210 months for wire fraud, 24 months for aggravated identity theft and 18 months for illegal possession of a weapon (that one was an unrelated charge).
It would not be a stretch to call this a “Social Media #Fail.” Hasn’t she heard the saying: “Don’t mess with the bull, or you’ll get the horns?” She should have been a little more cautious in the social media bull pen, because she is facing a different kind of “pen” now.