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MADISON - Soha Shanaa, a Waukesha County resident, was sentenced yesterday on two felony counts of filing a false and fraudulent tax return and one count of public assistance fraud based on a failure to notify authorities of a change of facts, Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen announced today.


Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Linda M. Van De Water sentenced Shanaa to 5 years probation and 12 months in jail as a condition of probation. In addition, she was also ordered to make restitution and comply with certain record keeping requirements related to operation of her business. Shanaa was sentenced after being found guilty upon entry of a plea to the charges.


According to the complaint, Soha Shanaa and her husband, Elfatih Ibrahim, operated a business known as Midtown Shell Mart, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. While conducting an investigation of allegations of sales tax fraud, Department of Revenue investigators concluded that Shanaa had underreported income, resulting in an evasion of state income taxes between 2004 and 2005 of $10,802. Further, investigation by Waukesha officials revealed that Shanaa provided false information regarding their income in their applications for medical assistance. Shanaa and her family received medical assistance benefit to which they were not entitled in the amount of $15,595.04.


"This is a case where the defendant both failed to make payments to the public treasury and raided it for benefits that she was not entitled to," Van Hollen said. "We will continue to work with our state and local partners to investigate and prosecute fraud to protect the public treasury."


In a related case, Shanaa's husband, Elfatih Ibrahim, age 43, has been previously charged in Dane County Circuit Court with filing a false and fraudulent tax return (one count) and theft of sales tax proceeds (two counts). That case is currently pending. The allegations in that matter have not been proven in a court of law. Ibrahim is presumed innocent, and the state bears the burden of proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


The Wisconsin Department of Revenue, the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department, and the Waukesha County Department of Human Services investigated this case. Waukesha County District Attorney Barbara Michaels and Assistant Attorney General Donald Latorraca represented the State of Wisconsin.