Accountant Gets Jail for Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

A South Florida accountant has been sentenced to six and a half years in federal prison after admitting to operating a $3.6 million tax refund fraud scheme, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Pamella Watson, 61, of Davie, Fla., who was a prominent figure in the Jamaican community, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a wire fraud charge. She has been jailed since her arrest in May.

Court records say Watson falsified hundreds of tax returns and refund amounts on IRS forms without her clients’ knowledge and diverted money to her own accounts and to her boyfriend.

A U.S. citizen who moved here in the 1970s, Watson ran her CPA business in Miami for many years and volunteered for many South Florida charities and organizations.

Watson’s lawyer Bruce Rogow said she already arranged to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution to the IRS, including transferring money from her native Jamaica. She owes a total restitution amount of more than $3.68 million. Rogow said she lost most of the money because she was a victim of a Ponzi scheme.

She sobbed in the courtroom as supporters asked the judge for leniency and apologized. “I’m really sorry for this mess I’ve created.”