Imposter nurse sentenced to prison for tax evasion and fraud

Sonja Emery received over $2.2 million under false pretenses.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 12:32 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WASHINGTON (WILX) - Wednesday the United States Department of Justice announced a nurse formerly employed by an Ann Arbor health care consultancy has been sentenced to 65 months in prison.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Schneider for the Eastern District of Michigan. Announced that Sonja Emery, 55 defrauded employers of over $2.2 million and evaded more than $697,000 in taxes.

Emery used several aliases including Sonja Lee Robinson, Sonjalee Emery-Robinson, and Sonijalee Emery while residing in California, Georgia, New Jersey and New York.

From 2011 through 2018, Emery falsely proclaimed her professional status, education and work history. Emery claimed to be a registered nurse licensed in Connecticut, California, Georgia, and New York, providing employers with license numbers that belonged to others.

Not only was Emery never a licensed RN, she falsely claimed to have earned multiple degrees from Emory University and New York University. Those degrees included a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Masters in Health Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration, and a Philosophy doctorate. Emery never attended the schools or received any such degree.

Using the false claims from 2011 through 2018, Emery was able to land high-level healthcare positions. She served as senior vice president for an Ann Arbor consulting firm where she earned an annual salary of roughly $285,000. She also worked as a consultant for a community health system in Wisconsin earning approximately $267,000 and as a health care consultant for a Massachusetts company that paid her approximately $226,000.

From 2015 until May of 2018 when she was arrested, Emery worked in California as a senior executive for a county government health services agency, a position that paid her approximately $960,000 in total.

During those tenures, Emery either did not file tax returns or filed late tax returns, even though she owed more than $400,000.

Emery used different names and fake social security numbers to to avoid being detected by employers. She also claimed to employers that she was “exempt” from taxes.

Emery pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion on Feb. 18. In addition to the 65 month sentence, U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker ordered Emery serve three years of supervised release and pay restitution to the employer victims in the amount of $2.2 million and $697,000 in restitution to the United States.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.