A Winter Springs woman is facing up to three years in prison after admitting to falsifying a tax return, pocketing a $240,000 refund from the United States Internal Revenue Service, and recruiting others into a nationwide fraud scheme.
Rebecca Cyphers pled guilty on Wednesday, June 1 to filing a false, 2013 amended income tax return with the IRS and receiving a $240,000 refund that she was not entitled to receive.
According to court documents and statements, Cyphers, who is 65 years old and lives in Winter Springs, participated in and helped facilitate a nationwide tax fraud scheme wherein individuals prepared and assisted in the filing of tax returns for scheme participants, such as Cyphers. The participants made false claims that banks and other financial institutions had withheld large amounts of income tax from them.
Records later showed that the financial institutions in question had not paid any income to or withheld any taxes from the individuals that were part of the scheme.
Cyphers admitted to filing a false, amended income tax return and receiving a refund of approximately $240,000. Furthermore, she confessed to obstructing the IRS’s efforts to recover the money by transferring funds into a trust and making a large cash withdrawal from the refund deposit.
Cyphers additionally admitted to helping others promote the tax fraud scheme and recruiting participants.
In March, the organizer of the fraud scheme, Iran Backstrom, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Mehef Bey, who was Backstrom’s second in command, was sentenced to eleven years in prison. A third individual involved in the scheme, Aaron Aqueron, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for recruiting clients and providing information to another co-conspirator for use in the preparation of false tax returns.
Cyphers is scheduled to be sentenced on August 24 and faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison, according to court records. She also faces a period of supervised release, monetary penalties and restitution. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.