Filing bogus tax returns with stolen identities is a crime on the rise. As authorities work to crack down on millions of dollars in stolen-identity tax fraud, several big cases are in the works and a few major players have been handed multi-year prison sentences.
Corrections Clerk Gets 6 Years for Stealing Prisoner IDs
A former medical records clerk at an Alabama corrections facility was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for her part in a stolen ID tax scheme that raked in more than $1 million, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
Prosecutors say Sasha Webb used her access to Department of Corrections databases to steal identities and sell them to Harvey James and Jacqueline Slaton so they could file false tax returns.
Other co-conspirators included James's brother-in-law, Gregory Slaton and Vernon Harrison, a U.S. Postal Service employee.
James received a nine-year prison sentence and an order to pay $618,042 restitution. Jacqueline and Gregory Slaton were sentenced to nearly six years in prison each, and Jacqueline was ordered to pay more than $100,000 restitution.
Harrison received more than nine years in prison and was ordered to pay $82,791 restitution. In addition to her prison term, Webb was ordered to pay $528,823 restitution.
FBI Expands Tax Fraud Investigation at Florida Colleges
Federal authorities have expanded their investigation into identity theft and tax fraud after 18 Miami Dade College students were charged with using financial aid accounts to receive bogus tax refunds, according to the Miami Herald.
The FBI is now looking into other Florida colleges for scams involving student financial accounts administered by Connecticut-based financial services company Higher One.
The original investigation of Miami Dade College students uncovered millions of dollars in fabricated tax returns, authorities say. Higher One found more than 1,000 accounts with multiple tax refund checks deposited. Federal authorities have found hundreds more compromised Higher One accounts held by Miami Dade students.
In total, the defendants in the Miami Dade fraud and ID theft case used 644 stolen identities to claim $1.9 million in fraudulent tax refunds.
Ohio Woman Accused of Filing $476K in Bogus Claims
An Ohio woman was indicted for allegedly filing $476,000 worth of fraudulent tax refunds, according to WKYC.
Ghana Johnson is accused of electronically filing 106 fraudulent tax returns totaling more than $476,000. Authorities say she stole identities from a variety of sources, including a medical and dental assistant school's admissions records.
Johnson represented herself as an income tax preparer to family, friends and others, according to the indictment. However, Johnson was not listed as a preparer on any of the false tax returns filed in this case.
Tax Preparer Sentenced for Stolen ID Tax Scams
A Louisiana tax preparer was sentenced to more than three years in prison for filing false tax returns using stolen identities.
Prosecutors say Claudia Marie Mays filed 15 fraudulent returns to the tune of more than $94,000 in refunds. Mays was ordered to pay more than $94,000 restitution. Co-conspirator Carla Inzina was sentenced to three years probation for assisting Mays with one of the bogus returns by providing her with a stolen identity.