Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sentenced for fraud, cancer took her life

Shawntrece Sims

Shawntrece Sims

TAMPA — Shawntrece Sims lost a year of her life to prison.

No one could have known those days would be so precious. But early on in a nine-year federal sentence for tax fraud, cancer turned up in her bones. Nothing could be done, except by a judge who set her free in November.

She died in January at age 32. Her obituary listed a husband, daughter, three sons and stepchildren, and it referred to her as "Ms. Boo."

Her minister, the Rev. Henry Melvin Harris Jr., says she was sorry for what she did.

"She was trying to fix a lot of the things that had been wrong," Harris said. "Some things are not fixable. You have to go through the misery of situations you may have created by your behavior. I think she was fully aware of that."

The government says she took $263,004 from the IRS, got caught, agreed to plead guilty, then took another $400,000 while awaiting sentencing. She owed restitution of $672,887.

A few days after her release, the court issued a final judgment of forfeiture, giving the government a Jaguar automobile she had put in a relative's name. A month after her death, she lost her appeal to the 11th Circuit.

Harris believes she ultimately found forgiveness.

He presided over her funeral at Beulah Baptist Institutional Church in Tampa, though he had moved to a new church in Spring Hill.

He tried to comfort those who loved her by telling them God had recognized her repentance and freed her from a long, lonely sentence in prison.

Still, he saw a river of tears.

"Even though she's free, it had a price," he said. "She had to leave the family, this earth, this life."

Times staff writer Patty Ryan can be reached at pryan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3382.

Sentenced for fraud, cancer took her life 03/30/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 8:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Wrestling to return to old Tampa armory — but just for one night

    Human Interest

    Times Staff Writer

    TAMPA — For the first time in decades, wrestling will return to the old Ft. Homer W. Hesterly Armory with a reunion show scheduled for late September.

  2. Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager …

  3. John Morgan intends to pressure every Florida politician to fund wage initiative

    Blogs

    John Morgan, the publicity-loving personal injury lawyer/entrepreneur who spearheaded the successful medical marijuana initiative, soon plans to start collecting signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative raising Florida minimum wage. He plans to "spend millions of my own money" on the effort, but he also intends to …

  4. Westbound traffic on Courtney Campbell blocked after crash

    Accidents

    Westbound traffic on the Courtney Campbell Causeway is being diverted following a crash early Thursday morning.

  5. Q&A: A business leader and historian jointly delve into Tampa's waterfront

    Business

    TAMPA — As a native of Tampa, Arthur Savage has always had a passion for his hometown's history. And as a third-generation owner and operator of A.R. Savage & Son, a Tampa-based shipping agency, his affinity for his hometown also extends to its local waterways.

    Arthur Savage (left) and Rodney Kite-Powell, co-authors of "Tampa Bay's Waterfront: Its History and Development," stand for a portrait with the bust of James McKay Sr. in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. McKay, who passed away in 1876, was a prominent businessman, among other things, in the Tampa area. He was Arthur Savage's great great grandfather. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]