Imposter Nurse Received Millions, Now Sentenced To Prison On Tax Charges

A lady who faked her resume for years in trade for high-paying govt gigs is lastly going to jail. That was the phrase out of the Division of Justice in a case that has the entire makings of a daytime tv plot.

Sonja Emery was identified at numerous occasions as Sonja Lee Robinson, Sonjalee Emery-Robinson, and Sonjalee Emery whereas she resided in Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and California. In accordance with court docket paperwork, from 2011 via 2018, Emery falsely represented her skilled standing, academic background, and work expertise to safe and keep extremely paid consulting positions within the health-care trade. As a part of the deception, she claimed to be a Registered Nurse licensed in New York, Georgia, Connecticut, and California: she was in a position to pull off the fraud by giving her employers license numbers that belonged to different folks.

Emery falsely represented to employers she had a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Grasps diploma in Well being Administration, a Grasps diploma in Enterprise Administration, and a Physician of Philosophy diploma from Emory and New York Universities. Nonetheless, Emery by no means attended these faculties or acquired these levels. She had by no means even graduated from school.

Emery additionally lied about her work historical past, alleging that she had served because the Director of Case Administration and Director of Emergency Companies for a serious hospital in Atlanta, Georgia; labored in administration for a nationwide consulting agency in Atlanta; and served as a Vice President at a nationwide consulting agency in New York. General, she falsely claimed practically 25 years expertise in positions that she by no means held.

By convincing her employers that she had registered nursing credentials (she didnt), high-level levels (she didnt), and appreciable administration expertise (she didnt), Emery was given a number of well-paying jobs. She labored as a senior vice chairman for an Ann Arbor, Michigan, healthcare consulting agency incomes an annual wage of roughly $285,000; as a marketing consultant for a neighborhood well being system in Wisconsin incomes roughly $267,000; and as a well being care marketing consultant for a Massachusetts firm that paid her roughly $226,000. From 2015 to 2018, she additionally labored as a senior govt for a county authorities well being providers company in California incomes roughly $960,000.

Whereas Emery was at these jobs, she both didn’t file taxes or filed them late. She was in a position to stay unnoticed for a while as a result of she used totally different names and false social safety numbers. She additionally falsely instructed employers that she was exempt from taxes.

In 2012, the Inside Income Service (IRS) tried to find Emery in Georgia relating to her excellent tax balances. When the Income Officer assigned to the case couldnt discover her, the case was transferred to New York the place the IRS believed that Emery was working. In 2013, the IRS started reaching out to Emerys subsequent employer in Michigan about withholding from her wage in response to tax levies.

In response, Emery employed an accountant who suggested the IRS that Emery wished the levies to cease. The IRS suggested that the company couldn’t take into account lifting the levies except and till Emery filed delinquent returns.

In accordance with court docket paperwork, moderately than file these returns, Emery went into protection mode. She falsely suggested her accountant that she had filed her tax returns. Then, she registered an internet-based fax quantity to transmit false paperwork to her employer purportedly from the IRS. One false discover indicated that her tax debt was a lot lower than it was (the letter claimed the debt was simply $558.68); a second cast discover claimed that the debt had been paid. Emery confirmed her employer a replica of a verify that had allegedly been used to pay the debt, despite the fact that the verify was by no means delivered to the IRS.

Emery left that employer – which had contemplated firing her – for one more job. Medical doctors at her second job grew to become suspicious and seemed her up on the web: they discovered her mug shot. When the corporate discovered that her credentials have been fraudulent, they fired her, however not earlier than paying her properly.

She moved onto a brand new job in a special state. There, she refused to carry out a background verify (sure, she was employed anyway). Moreover, the CEO of the corporate believed that Emerys enterprise bills have been fabricated and exaggerated together with the truth that she submitted bills for stays in lodges that didnt exist. Emery was terminated once more, and secured an impartial contractor place at one more firm.

Ultimately, the deceit caught as much as her. Emery was arrested in Could of 2018. On February 18, 2020, Emery pleaded responsible to defrauding employers of over $2.2 million and evading greater than $697,000 in taxes.

As a part of the investigation, the authorities discovered extra about Emery. Whereas the fees have been linked to the years 2011 to 2018, it appeared that she was partaking in deceit to get jobs way back to 2006 – however she didnt appear to have any belongings to indicate for it. Her attorneys introduced proof that she spent hundreds at playing cards, taking part in even when she was unemployed. She had, they claimed, a playing habit.

This court docket might not be her final cease. In accordance with court docket paperwork, Emery has excellent arrest warrants and pending expenses in a minimum of three different circumstances. Shes been fortunate to this point: on a minimum of two events, representations have been made to the native district attorneys that she suffered from mind tumor surgical procedure and most cancers. Counting on the representations as to her incapacity, one of many prosecutors moved {that a} nolle prosequi (dismissal of expenses) be entered as a result of the defendant has lately suffered a mind tumor, surgical procedure for which has left her blind, with out reminiscence, and bodily unable to look after herself in any vogue. Emery later admitted that she has by no means had most cancers.

There have been no excuses this time. On October 27, 2020, Emery was sentenced to greater than 65 months in jail. U.S. District Courtroom Choose Linda V. Parker additionally ordered Emery to serve three years of supervised launch and to pay roughly $2.2 million in restitution to the employer victims and $697,000 in restitution.

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