Feds: Inmate used prison pen pal info for fake tax returns

SEATTLE (AP) — A Tacoma woman who used a prison pen pal program to gather the personal information of her targets has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft charges.

Acting U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes says Shannon Henderson used that personal information to file more than 150 fraudulent tax returns between 2009 and 2014.

Henderson was an inmate at the Washington Women's Correctional Center when she became pen pals with inmates across the country. Through those contacts, she gathered names and identifying information on real people. She also purchased personal information on people who worked for a janitorial service.

The prosecutor says Henderson used that information to file fake tax returns that resulted in about $56,000 in tax refunds.

She's scheduled to be sentenced on May 29.